United States Unemployment

United States

Payrolls growth weaker than expected, unemployment holds steady

Non-farm payrolls grew by 192,000 in March, which was down from February's revised increase of 197,000 (previously reported: +175,000). Moreover, the reading undershot market expectations of a 200,000 increase in payrolls.

The private sector was entirely responsible for new hiring in March. The largest gains were registered in professional and business services, education and health, as well as retail trade. Meanwhile, no payroll gains were tallied in the public sector.

The U.S. economy has recovered 8.3 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough in the labor market crisis. Given the ongoing improvement over the past three years, the economy now has only 437,000 fewer jobs than it had at the January 2008 peak.

The unemployment rate-derived from a different survey-held steady at the 6.7% tallied in February. The reading came in above market expectations of a fall to 6.6%. While the size of the labor force increased in March, the number of unemployed people also ticked up, resulting in a steady unemployment rate.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 6.8% this year, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2015, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 6.3%.

Author:, Economist

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United States Unemployment Chart

USA Unemployment March 2014

Note: Month-on-month variation of non-farm payrolls in thousands and unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted in %.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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