March Employment Report: 916 Thousand Jobs, 6.0% Unemployment Rate

From the BLS:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 916,000 in March, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Job growth was widespread in March, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised up by 67,000, from +166,000 to +233,000, and the change for February was revised up by 89,000, from +379,000 to +468,000. With these revisions, employment in January and February combined was 156,000 higher than previously reported.
emphasis added

Year-over-year change employmentClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the year-over-year change in total non-farm employment since 1968.

In March, the year-over-year change was negative 6.720 million jobs.  Next month, the YoY change will be up significantly – since employment collapsed in April 2020.

Total payrolls increased by 916 thousand in March.  Private payrolls increased by 780 thousand.

Payrolls for January and February were revised up 156 thousand, combined.

Employment Recessions, Scariest Job ChartThe second graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms.

The current employment recession was by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms, but currently is not as severe as the worst of the “Great Recession”.

The third graph shows the employment population ratio and the participation rate.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment ratesThe Labor Force Participation Rate increased to 61.5% in March, from 61.4% in February. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 57.8% from 57.6% (black line).

I’ll post the 25 to 54 age group employment-population ratio graph later.

unemployment rateThe fourth graph shows the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate decreased in March to 6.0% from 6.2% in February.

This was well above consensus expectations, and January and February were revised up by 156,000 combined.

I’ll have more later …

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