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THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MARCH 2012
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March, and the unemployment
rate was little changed at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment rose in manufacturing, food services and drinking
places, and health care, but was down in retail trade.
Household Survey Data
The number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate
(8.2 percent) were both little changed in March. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men
(7.6 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (25.0 percent), whites
(7.3 percent), blacks (14.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed
little or no change in March. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.2 percent,
not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2,and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over)
was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in March. These individuals
accounted for 42.5 percent of the unemployed. Since April 2010, the number
of long-term unemployed has fallen by 1.4 million. (See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force participation rate (63.8 percent) and the
employment-population ratio (58.5 percent) were little changed in March.
(See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes
referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell from 8.1 to 7.7 million
over the month. These individuals were working part time because their
hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time
job. (See table A-8.)
In March, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor
force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not
seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force,
wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime
in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
(See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 865,000 discouraged workers
in March, about the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally
adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for
work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining
1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had
not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such
as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March. In the prior
3 months, payroll employment had risen by an average of 246,000 per month.
Private-sector employment grew by 121,000 in March, including gains in
manufacturing, food services and drinking places, and health care. Retail
trade lost jobs over the month. Government employment was essentially
unchanged. (See table B-1.)
Manufacturing employment rose by 37,000 in March, with gains in motor
vehicles and parts (+12,000), machinery (+7,000), fabricated metals
(+5,000), and paper manufacturing (+3,000). Factory employment has risen
by 470,000 since a recent low point in January 2010.
Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking
places rose by 37,000 in March and has risen by 563,000 since a recent
low point in February 2010.
In March, health care employment continued to grow (+26,000). Within the
industry, offices of physicians and hospitals each added 8,000 jobs over the
Employment in financial activities was up by 15,000 in March, with most of
the gain occurring in credit intermediation (+11,000).
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up
in March (+31,000). Employment in the industry has grown by 1.4 million
since a recent low point in September 2009. In March, services to buildings
and dwellings added 23,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services
was about unchanged over the month after increasing by 55,000 in February.
Retail trade employment fell by 34,000 in March. A large job loss in general
merchandise stores (-32,000) and small losses in other retail industries
more than offset gains in health and personal care stores (+6,000) and in
building material and garden supply stores (+5,000).
Employment in the other major private-sector industries, including mining,
construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and information,
changed little in March.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in March. The manufacturing workweek fell
by 0.3 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.4 hours.
The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private
nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 5 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $23.39. Over the past 12 months,
average hourly earnings have increased by 2.1 percent. In March, average
hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees
rose by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.68. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from
+284,000 to +275,000, and the change for February was revised from +227,000
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