In March, the U.S. labor market finally saw some tangible job growth, with 162,000 new jobs (seasonally adjusted), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's the highest number of new jobs for a month in three years. This wasn't enough to raise the unemployment rate, however, which remained steady at January and February's rate of 9.7%. While great news, the job growth was weaker than consensus expectations, which predicted 190,000 more jobs.
Revisions are also good news. January's jobs change switched from a loss of 26,000 to a gain of 14,000. February's improved a bit as well from 36,000 estimated lost to just 14,000. So March's six-digit job growth was still a significant reversal from February's revised loss of 14,000. The number of unemployed Americans actually rose slightly, however, to 15.0 million from 14.9 million.
Let's start with the number of jobs lost/gained over the past two years:
And here's how the rate has changed:
That first chart shows just how significant the reversal in March was. This is the legitimate job growth economists have been waiting to see.
Scrolling through the report's B-1 table industry detail, it's clear that most sectors did well in March. Some of the shining industries continue to be the same, which include temporary workers, health care and education. Here are some highlights: