Job Market Update: March 2017

What's the latest with the unemployment rate? We've got the details and the takeaways.

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Jobs Added

98,000

  • Construction

    6,000

  • Manufacturing

    11,000

  • Professional & Business Services

    56,000

  • Education & Health Services

    16,000

  • Transportation & Warehousing

    3,500

  • Finance

    9,000

  • Retail Trade

    -30,000

  • Leisure & Hospitality

    9,000

The second job report under President Trump slowed fairly drastically in March with only 98,000 jobs added. 219,000 jobs were added in February, revised down from previous reports of 235,000. That means 121,000 less jobs were added in March than in February.

The good news? The unemployment rate was revised down from 4.7% to 4.5%. Even better news? This is the lowest the unemployment rate has been in almost a decade (since May 2007.)

The most jobs were added to professional and business services (jobs like services to buildings, architecture and engineering services,) and education and health services (think health care, hospitals and outpatient care centers,) similar to last month. Finally, mining once again saw an increase, with 11,000 jobs added in March. Reminder – this is an industry the President has promised to restore.

Other employment trends we’ve noticed? Companies are trying to lock down talent as workers become more scarce in the healthy job market. How? By converting temp workers to permanent workers earlier than usual, and paying employers more. Our very own Senior Vice President speaks to this in the New York Times’ most recent piece about employment trends.

Job Growth by Industry

March 2017

Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.5%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.2%

In Your Region

March 2017

Let’s break the unemployment rate down for February by regions around the country. To start, 19 states had unemployment rates significantly lower than the February U.S. figure of 4.7 percent. About 25 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. Only 6 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates.

West

West

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.5%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.3%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Hawaii (2.8 percent) / New Mexico (6.8 percent)

Midwest

Midwest

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.1%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.5%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

South Dakota (2.8 percent) / Illinois (5.4 percent)

Northeast

Northeast

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.0%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.5%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

New Hampshire (2.7 percent) / Pennsylvania (5.0 percent)

West

South

  • Unemployment Rate

    5.0%

  • Change from Last Month

    0%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Arkansas (3.7 percent) / Alabama (6.2 percent)

Why This is So Important

This month’s lack of job additions allows us to draw an important conclusion: companies are converting temporary workers to permanent workers faster, and they’re paying their employees more.

Why? Because paying less can lead to more turnover, and lower productivity.

To illustrate this fact, we recently built a calculator that allows employers to see if their hourly pay rate affects their monthly turnover. A little hint… in most cases, it does.

Over the past 3 months, jobs have averaged 178,000 additions per month. Will job additions, along with the unemployment rate, continue to decrease as companies pay more? We’ll have to wait and see. Check back next month for our next BLS report, released May 5!

This image and all data supporting this monthly blog post is provided by the BLS Regional and State Unemployment Report and the BLS Employment Situation Summary.

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