4/4 BLS Employment situation

According to today’s BLS Employment Situation report, the unemployment rate in the U.S. rose from to 5.1% in March, up from 4.8%. The nonfarm payroll jobs count declined by 80,000. Over the past three months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000.

Here is an excerpt from the report:

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION: MARCH 2008

The unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent in March, and nonfarm
payroll employment continued to trend down (-80,000), the Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Over the past
3 months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000. In March, employment
continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and employment services,
while health care, food services, and mining added jobs. Average hourly
earnings rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, over the month.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

The number of unemployed persons increased by 434,000 to 7.8 million in
March, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 5.1 per-
cent. Since March 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by
1.1 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.7 percentage point.
(See table A-1.)

Over the month, unemployment rates rose for adult men (to 4.6 percent),
adult women (4.6 percent), and Hispanics (6.9 percent). The jobless rates
edged up for blacks (to 9.0 percent) and whites (4.5 percent), while the
rate for teenagers (15.8 percent) was essentially unchanged. The unemploy-
ment rate for Asians was 3.6 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables
A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In March, the number of persons unemployed because they lost jobs increased
by 300,000 to 4.2 million. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed
job losers has increased by 914,000. (See table A-8.)

Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

The civilian labor force rose to 153.8 million over the month, offsetting a
decline in the prior month. The labor force participation rate was 66.0 percent
in March and has remained at or near that level since last spring. Total employ-
ment held at 146.0 million. The employment-population ratio was little changed
over the month at 62.6 percent. The ratio was down from its most recent peak of
63.4 percent in December 2006. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons who worked part time for economic reasons, at 4.9 million
in March, was little changed over the month, but has risen by 629,000 over the past
12 months. This category includes persons who indicated that they were working
part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find
full-time jobs. (See table A-5.)

Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

About 1.4 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to
the labor force in March. These individuals wanted and were available for work and
had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as un-
employed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 401,000 discouraged workers in March, about
the same as a year earlier. Discouraged workers are defined as persons not currently
looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them.
The other 951,000 persons classified as marginally attached to the labor force in
March cited reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
table A-13.)

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