Impressive Data in March Jobs Report

By Toni Vranjes

April 1, 2016

There are several signs in the March employment report showing that the job market is on the right track.

Employment was up by 215,000 nationwide, while average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents and the labor force expanded by 396,000. The payroll growth was powered by gains in retail trade, construction and health care.

Following mixed signals in the February employment data, “the March numbers were more consistently positive,” wrote IHS Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh in an analysis.

Last month, the unemployment rate did increase slightly, from 4.9 percent to 5 percent, according to the Labor Department. However, Behravesh noted that this occurred for a “good reason” — the solid growth in the labor force.

The government report shows a slight rise in the labor-force participation rate – the percentage of the population that is either employed or looking for work. The rate was 63 percent in March, up from 62.9 percent the previous month.

Behravesh wrote that the labor force has experienced large increases for six months in a row, calling it a “vote of confidence on the part of workers” regarding the economy’s health.

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