March 2023 Employment Summary

  • On April 12, 2023

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Some job seekers and employers were lucky to fill positions, while others are still on the hunt for that ideal role or employee. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.

Both the unemployment rate, at 3.5%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 5.8 million, changed little in March. These measures have shown little net movement since early 2022. Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers increased by 172,000 to 1.6 million, and the number of reentrants to the labor force declined by 182,000 to 1.7 million. Reentrants are persons who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 1.1 million for the month. These individuals accounted for 18.9% of all unemployed persons. 

The labor force participation rate, at 62.6%, continued to trend up in March. The employment-population ratio edged up over the month to 60.4%. These measures remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels, 63.3% and 61.1%, respectively. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons was essentially unchanged at 4.1 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 4.9 million and has returned to its February 2020 level. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job. Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed at 1.3 million. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, also was little changed over the month at 351,000. 

In March, employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, government, professional and business services, and health care. Leisure and hospitality added 72,000 jobs, lower than the average monthly gain of 95,000 over the prior 6 months. Most of the job growth occurred in food services and drinking places, where employment rose by 50,000. Government employment increased by 47,000, the same as the average monthly gain over the prior 6 months. Professional and business services continued to trend up (+39,000), in line with the average monthly growth over the prior 6 months (+34,000). Within the industry, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services continued its upward trend (+26,000). 

Over the month, healthcare added 34,000 jobs, lower than the average monthly gain of 54,000 over the prior 6 months. Job growth occurred in home health care services (+15,000) and hospitals (+11,000). Employment continued to trend up in nursing and residential care facilities (+8,000). Social assistance continued to trend up for the month (+17,000), in line with the average monthly growth over the prior 6 months (+22,000). 

In March, employment in transportation and warehousing changed a little (+10,000). Couriers and messengers (+7,000) and air transportation (+6,000) added jobs, while warehousing and storage lost jobs (-12,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing has shown little net change in recent months. Job opportunities in retail trade changed little in March (-15,000). Job losses in building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-9,000) and in furniture, home furnishings, electronics, and appliance retailers (-9,000) were partially offset by a job gain in department stores (+15,000). 

Other major industries showcased little change for the month, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; construction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; information; financial activities; and other services. 

In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $33.18. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.2%. For the month, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $28.50. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours in March. In manufacturing, the average workweek was unchanged at 40.3 hours, and overtime remained at 3.0 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.9 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down by 32,000, from +504,000 to +472,000, and the change for February was revised up by 15,000, from +311,000 to +326,000. With these revisions, employment in January and February combined is 17,000 lower than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

Staff Solve continues to provide high-quality candidates and jobs in diverse markets for over 27 years. Let us take the stress off you so you can focus on your business by finding the perfect applicant for the position. If you are looking for employment, please visit our job seeker page and check out our job board for current positions. If you would like more information about the services we offer employers, visit our employer page or contact us today.

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