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THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- MARCH 2016
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March, and the unemployment
rate was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment increased in retail trade, construction, and health
care. Job losses occurred in manufacturing and mining.
Household Survey Data
In March, the unemployment rate (5.0 percent) and the number of unemployed
persons (8.0 million) were little changed. Both measures have shown little
movement since August. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.5 percent),
adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (15.9 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks
(9.0 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 percent) showed little or
no change in March. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was
essentially unchanged at 2.2 million in March and has shown little movement since
June. In March, these individuals accounted for 27.6 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)
In March, the labor force participation rate (63.0 percent) and the employment-
population ratio (59.9 percent) changed little. Both measures were up by 0.6
percentage point since September. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged in March at 6.1 million and
has shown little movement since November. These individuals, who would have
preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been
cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In March, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down
by 335,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and
had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 585,000 discouraged workers in March,
down by 153,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they
believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons
marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for
reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March. Employment gains
occurred in retail trade, construction, and health care, while job losses
occurred in manufacturing and mining. (See table B-1.)
Retail trade added 48,000 jobs in March. Employment gains occurred in general
merchandise stores (+12,000), health and personal care stores (+10,000), building
material and garden supply stores (+10,000), and automobile dealers (+5,000).
Over the past 12 months, retail trade has added 378,000 jobs.
Construction employment rose by 37,000 in March. Job gains occurred among
residential specialty trade contractors (+12,000) and in heavy and civil
engineering construction (+11,000). Over the year, construction has added
Employment in health care increased by 37,000 over the month, about in line with
the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. In March, employment rose
in ambulatory health care services (+27,000) and hospitals (+10,000). Over the
year, health care employment has increased by 503,000.
Over the month, employment continued to trend up in food services and drinking
places (+25,000) and in financial activities (+15,000).
In March, employment in professional and business services changed little for the
third month in a row. In 2015, the industry added an average of 52,000 jobs per
Employment in manufacturing declined by 29,000 in March. Most of the job losses
occurred in durable goods industries (-24,000), including machinery (-7,000),
primary metals (-3,000), and semiconductors and electronic components (-3,000).
Mining employment continued to decline in March (-12,000) with losses concentrated
in support activities for mining (-10,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014,
employment in mining has decreased by 185,000.
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation
and warehousing, information, and government, changed little over the month.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged
at 34.4 hours in March. The manufacturing workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.6
hours. Factory overtime was 3.3 hours for the fourth month in a row. The average
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls
was unchanged at 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
increased by 7 cents to $25.43, following a 2-cent decline in February. Over the
year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent. In March, average hourly
earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by
4 cents to $21.37. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from
+172,000 to +168,000, and the change for February was revised from +242,000 to
+245,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February
combined were 1,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job
gains have averaged 209,000 per month.
The Employment Situation for April is scheduled to be released on Friday,
May 6, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).