March Employment report = +162000


This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March 2010 Employment Situation report. According to the initial figures, the economy added 162,000 new nonfarm workers during the month. In addition, the January and February monthly figures were revised upward by a total of 62,000. The Unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7%, were it has been for three consecutive months. The peak unemployment of this recession was reached in October 2009 at 10.1%.

Nearly everyone knows the monthly nonfarm jobs figures fluctuate wildly due to weather and temporary market factors. The most talked about example this month is the expected impact of roughly 30,000 new government Census workers. For this reason, we prefer to analyze the moving average over three, six, and twelve month periods. The following chart illustrates the change in nonfarm payrolls showing the 3-month and 12-month moving averages.

nonfarmIt is clear from this chart that nonfarm payrolls bottomed in the early part of 2009 and have been rebounding for the past year. It is also encouraging to see the 3-month average turn positive (+54,000) for the first time since February 2008 – more than 2 years ago. The 12-month average reading of –193,333 still reflects the damage which has occurred during this deep recession. 



A five year chart of the Unemployment rate also illustrates how quickly jobs were shed during the recession. It also remains likely that the peak unemployment level (10.1%) has been reached and a slow, gradual decline is about to begin.


We have been discussing the employment trends in our monthly investment letter for some time. If you are interested in receiving a complimentary back issue, please send us your request at our website:

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