U.S. employers added 236,000 jobs in March, a slowdown from the start of the year. This shows a gradual cooling of the labor market that experts have wanted to see. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5%. Year-over-year wage growth fell to 4.2%.
236,000: Employers added 236,000 jobs in March.
3.5%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.
4.2%: Wages rose 4.2% over the past year.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, March’s report shows that the job market is starting to cool after a very strong start of the year. This is what officials at the Federal Reserve have been hoping to see as they’ve increased interest rates in the hopes of slowing hiring, wage growth and inflation. The most recent numbers also show a decrease in wage growth, though some industries, like leisure and hospitality, are still seeing rapidly rising wages. The leisure and hospitality sector led wage growth again last month, followed by education and health services.
Additionally, more workers entered the workforce in March, boosting the participation rate for Americans considered in their prime working age to the highest level since 2001. The overall labor force participation rate rose to 62.6%, the highest rate since February 2020.
The most recent report is starting to show the impact of recent layoffs. As the New York Times reports, several of the industries most impacted by borrowing costs shed jobs in March, including financial services, manufacturing and retail. This is difficult news for workers as we have also seen increases in unemployment claims over the past several weeks.
March’s jobs report does not reflect the impact of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank as the numbers reflect trends at the beginning of the month. The fallout will begin to show up in the revisions to March’s numbers in April’s report.
Additionally, the big question for experts is whether or not this cooling will be enough to slow the pace of rate hikes at the Federal Reserve. As MarketWatch reports, the slowdown is good news, but it may not be slow enough for officials. The Fed next meets May 2-3.