Unemployment Drops to New Low of 7.6 Percent, While US Employers Only Add 88,000 Jobs in March

There is mixed news, yet again, on the jobs front on the heels of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) March jobs report. While the unemployment rate edged down from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent, employers added only 88,000 jobs in March. This is anemic growth, and far below the average employment growth of 169,000 per month over the course of the past 12 months, according to the BLS.

While the unemployment rate has continued to fall consistently over the course of the past year (was 8.4 percent a year ago), much of the progress is due more and more to workers dropping out of the labor force. In fact, according to the Labor Department 496,000 workers stopped looking for employment in March, bringing the labor participation rate down by 0.2 percent to its current rate of 63.3 percent.

Conversely, several sectors continued to see the addition of jobs, including professional and business services, which added 51,000 jobs in March. The economy also saw job growth in health care with 23,000 jobs gained. Construction employment also edged up by 18,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality employment saw the addition of jobs with 13,000 added, specifically in food services and drinking establishments.  Retail trade employment saw a decline of 24,000 jobs, as did government, which saw U.S. Postal Service employment fall by 12,000 jobs in March.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates remains unchanged month to month for adult men (6.9 percent), women (7.0 percent), teenagers (24.2 percent), whites (6.7 percent), African Americans (13.3 percent), and Hispanics (9.2 percent).


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