United States: Unemployment inches down in March
April 5, 2013
In March, non-farm payrolls grew by 88,000, which came in well below the revised 268,000 rise observed in February (previously reported: 236,000 jobs). The reading undershot expectations, which had anticipated payrolls would rise by 193,000.
The private sector continued to be entirely responsible for new hiring by adding 95,000 jobs, which marked nonetheless the lowest increase since June 2012. Professional and business services, as well as health care were the sectors recording the largest gains. On the other hand, the public sector, cut payrolls by 7,000 jobs, maintaining the negative trend seen throughout most of the past three years.
The monthly figure marks the 29th consecutive monthly gains in non-farm payrolls and the U.S. economy has now recovered 5.9 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough of the crisis in the labour market. That said, despite the improvement seen in the past two years, the economy remains short of 2.9 million jobs compared to the peak reached in January 2008.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate - which is derived from a different survey - inched down from 7.7% in February to 7.6% in March, which represents the lowest rate since December 2008. The reading came in below market expectations that had the rate stable at 7.7%.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists anticipate unemployment to average 7.7% this year, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2014, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 7.2%.