Payroll employment in March 2009

April 07, 2009

Total nonfarm payroll employment continued to fall sharply (-663,000) in March. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.1 million jobs have been lost.

Over-the-month change in payroll employment, March 2008-March 2009
[Chart data—TXT]

Manufacturing employment fell by 161,000 in March, with widespread job losses occurring among the component industries. Factory employment has declined by 1.0 million over the past 6 months.

The construction industry lost 126,000 jobs in March, with declines occurring throughout the industry. Employment in construction has fallen by 1.3 million since peaking in January 2007; nearly half of that decline occurred over the last 5 months.

Employment in professional and business services fell by 133,000 in March, with declines throughout most of the sector. More than half of the loss occurred in temporary help services, which cut 72,000 jobs in March and 767,000 since December 2007.

Retail trade employment fell by 48,000 over the month. Since peaking in November 2007, employment in the industry has declined by an average of 44,000 per month.

Employment in financial activities continued to decline in March (-43,000). The number of jobs in this industry has dropped by 495,000 since an employment peak in December 2006.

Leisure and hospitality shed 40,000 jobs in March, with most of the decrease in the accommodation industry. The leisure and hospitality industry has lost 351,000 jobs since an employment peak in December 2007. Transportation and warehousing lost 34,000 jobs in March, raising total job losses to 265,000 since employment peaked in December 2007.

Health care employment continued to trend up in March (14,000); however, monthly job growth in the first quarter averaged 17,000 compared with 30,000 per month in 2008.

These data are from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program, and are seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent two months are preliminary. More information can be found in "The Employment Situation: March 2009" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0328.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Payroll employment in March 2009 on the Internet at (visited January 16, 2018).


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