215,000 New Jobs in March, Wages up 2.3 Percent

April 1, 2016

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

Today’s jobs report revealed a fundamentally strong U.S. labor market in March, with 215,000 new jobs created, average hourly wages up 2.3 percent from a year ago, and the unemployment rate little changed at 5.0 percent. Today marks 66 consecutive months of positive U.S. job gains—the longest streak on record since the 1930s.

One surprise in today’s report is a slight uptick in the much-debated labor force participation rate—the fraction of Americans working or looking for a job—to 63 percent. That rate has been falling steadily for more than a decade. March’s jobs report shows labor force participation has now been either flat or rising for six consecutive months.

That’s good news, and shows that today’s robust labor market with near-record levels of job openings is beginning to draw more sidelined workers back into the labor force. However, most economists don’t expect this trend to continue. Retiring Baby Boomers and other demographic trends will almost surely continue pulling down the labor force participation rate in the coming decade.

The biggest job gains in March were in retail trade (47,700 new jobs), health care (44,000 new jobs), leisure and hospitality (40,000 new jobs), construction (37,000 new jobs), and professional and business services (33,000 new jobs). The most severe job losses were in manufacturing (-29,000 jobs), mining and logging (-12,000 jobs), and transportation and warehousing (-2,500 jobs).

Today’s report shows the recent Wall Street pessimism and fears of an eminent U.S. downturn from early 2016 were premature. The labor market remains fundamentally strong, consistently adding jobs and bringing workers into the labor market. While wage growth remains below normal levels, watch for wage growth to accelerate in coming months as employers struggle to fill open positions.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.