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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press 
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that 
the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

                            Statement of

                          Erica L. Groshen
                     Bureau of Labor Statistics

                       Friday, April 3, 2015

      Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March, 
and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent. 
Employment continued to trend up in professional and business 
services, health care, and retail trade. Job losses continued in 

      Incorporating the revisions for January and February, which 
reduced nonfarm employment by 69,000, monthly job gains have 
averaged 197,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months prior 
to March, employment growth averaged 269,000 per month.

      Employment in professional and business services continued 
to trend up in March (+40,000). Job growth in the first quarter 
of 2015 averaged 34,000 per month in this industry, below the 
average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. Within the industry, 
most of the jobs gained in the past 3 months were in the 
professional and technical services component, which had added 
jobs throughout 2014. By contrast, employment in the 
administrative and waste services component (which includes 
temporary help services) has changed little thus far in 2015, 
although this component had added an average of 29,000 jobs per 
month in 2014.

      Employment in health care increased by 22,000 over the 
month, with job gains in ambulatory care services and in 
hospitals. Employment declined by 6,000 in nursing care 
facilities in March. Over the past 12 months, health care has 
added 363,000 jobs.

      Retail trade employment continued to trend up in March 
(+26,000), in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 
12 months. Within retail trade, general merchandise stores 
added 11,000 jobs in March. 

      Employment in food services and drinking places changed 
little in March (+9,000), following a large gain in February 
(+66,000). Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 
33,000 per month in this industry, the same as the average 
monthly gain in 2014.

      Construction employment was essentially unchanged in March 
(-1,000). Employment in the industry had grown by an average of 
26,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

      Employment in mining fell by 11,000 in March, bringing job 
losses for the first quarter of 2015 to a total of 30,000. In 
2014, mining had added 41,000 jobs. The declines in the first 
quarter, as well as the gains in 2014, were concentrated in 
support activities for mining, which includes support for oil 
and gas extraction. 

      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 7 cents in March to $24.86. Over the past 12 
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent. From 
February 2014 to February 2015, the Consumer Price Index for All 
Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined by 0.1 percent.

      Turning now to our survey of households, the unemployment 
rate held at 5.5 percent in March, and the number of unemployed 
persons, at 8.6 million, changed little. Both measures are down 
from a year earlier, by 1.1 percentage points and 1.8 million, 
respectively. Among the unemployed in March, 29.8 percent had 
been jobless for 27 weeks or longer. 

      The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, 
changed little in March and has remained within a narrow range 
of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent since April 2014. The 
employment-population ratio was 59.3 percent for the third month 
in a row.

      Among those employed in March, the number of people working 
part time for economic reasons was 6.7 million, little changed 
over the month. 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 full-time 

      Among people who were neither working nor looking for work 
in March, 2.1 million were classified as marginally attached to 
the labor force, little changed over the year. These individuals 
had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but 
wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job 
within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged workers, a 
subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were 
available for them, was 738,000 in March, also little changed 
over the year.

      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 
in March, and the unemployment rate held at 5.5 percent.

Last Modified Date: April 03, 2015