201,000 Fewer Americans Employed in March, But Wages Continue Rising

By Susan Jones | April 5, 2019 | 8:44am EDT
A worker handles a door at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US Warren Stamping Plant in Warren, Michigan. (File Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The number of Americans working in March declined by 201,000, dropping from 156,949,000 in February to 156,748,000 in March, according to the data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force participation rate also fell by two-tenths of a point, from 63.2 percent to 63.0 percent.

The economy added 196,000 non-farm jobs in March, with notable gains in health care and in professional and technical services, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8 percent, within a tenth of a point of the 3.7 percent Trump-era low.

In March, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 258,537,000. Of those, 162,960,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 162,960,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 63 percent of the 258,537,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.

The number of Americans counted as not in the labor force, 95,577,000, increased in March, but with the growing number of retiring Baby Boomers, this number has not changed much in recent years.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.6 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (6.7 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little or no change in March.

Wages continued rising last month. In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $27.70, following a 10-cent gain in February. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised up from +311,000 to +312,000, and the change for February was revised up from +20,000 to +33,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 14,000 more than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged 180,000 per month over the last 3 months.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday that for the week ending March 30, initial unemployment insurance claims (seasonally adjusted) totaled 202,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level and the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when the number was 202,000.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

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