March 2018 Employment Summary
Each Month our PR firm summarizes the US Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly employment report. We thought you would be interested March results.
Indicators for March point toward sustained growth of the American economy. Non-farm businesses in the U.S. added 103,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained static at 4.1 percent for the sixth month in a row.
Industries most responsible for March gains included professional and business services, healthcare, manufacturing and mining. These sectors led the pack with 33,000 jobs added. Durable goods manufacturing created 22,000 positions in another month of recovery for a sector on the rise since 2017. Healthcare added 22,000 jobs and mining added 9,000. Construction and retail trade lost 15,000 and 4,000 jobs respectively. Because these declines followed considerable surges in February (Construction added 65,000 jobs last month, while retail created 47,000) this adjustment should have little impact on either sector over the long run.
Wages increased 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, while average hourly earnings rose 8 cents between February and March. This increase is seen as positive news since previous months in 2018 and late 2017 saw static or slow wage rises despite robust job growth. March also saw the year’s first hike of interest rates by the Federal Reserve, one of the initial actions by newly appointed Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
There are some concerns centered around recent tariffs imposed upon steel and aluminum imports. In its latest report, the Institute for Supply Management suggested that accurate, long-term planning has become more difficult. Distributors that historically held costs for at least 30 days are, in some cases, committing to only seven days since prices can change drastically in that time. Overall, the outlook for the U.S. economy remains bright. Positive indicators include wage gains and increases in the labor force participation rate, which rose to 62.9 percent in March 2018. This increase represents a 0.2 percent uptick from the previous month.
Greg Lee, Managing Partner
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