U.S. employers added 431,000 jobs in March, which is slightly less than economists had predicted. It marks 11 straight months with job growth above 400,000. The unemployment fell to 3.6%. Year-over-year wage growth remained high at 5.6%.
431,000: U.S. employers added 431,000 jobs in March.
3.6%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.6%.
5.6%: Wages rose 5.6% over the past year.
March’s jobs numbers show that the economy remains strong despite challenges domestically and abroad. The unemployment fell to 3.6%, nearing the pre-pandemic low of 3.5%. And while the Wall Street Journal reports that economists had anticipated a gain of 490,000, the numbers for January and February were adjusted upward, accounting for the slight miss. Additionally, the labor force participation rate hit a new pandemic high of 62.4%, and 418,000 new workers joined the labor market, according to MarketWatch. The economy has now regained about 90% of the jobs lost at the height of the pandemic.
Wage growth remained high in March, which can be seen as a positive by workers, but as the New York Times reports, it remains a worrying sign for inflation. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in March, and officials have suggested rates may go up half a percentage point in May. The leisure and hospitality sector has seen the highest wage growth, with an 11.8% increase over the past year.
As CNBC reports, March’s jobs reports comes at a “critical juncture” in the pandemic recovery. There are currently five million more job openings than there are available workers. Inflation is at the highest rate since the mid-1980s. The war in Ukraine has created supply chain issues. Rising rates could dampen the housing market. Economists will continue to watch how all of these factors contribute to the country’s broader economic health in the coming months.