Following three months of average gains of 246,000 jobs per month, total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States slowed in March 2012, rising only by 120,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, according to ‘THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MARCH 2012’ released today by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report also changed employment figures for January 2012 from a gain of 284,000 jobs down to 275,000 jobs, while February 2012 figures were revised from a gain of 227,000 jobs up to 240,000 jobs. The labor Department’s Employment Situation Report for March 2012 is available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf until the April 2012 Employment Situation Report is released on Friday, May 4, 2012.
The March 2012 Employment Situation Report showed that the number of unemployed persons fell slightly to 12.7 million. Private-sector employment grew by 121,000 jobs, with gains in manufacturing, food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and health care. Among specific job sectors, the report found the following:
- Manufacturing employment rose by 37,000 jobs in March 2012, and factory employment has risen by 470,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010.
- Food services and drinking places employment added 37,000 jobs in March 2012 and has added 563,000 since a recent low point in February 2010.
- Professional and business services employment continued to trend up with 31,000 new jobs in March 2012, and employment in the industry has grown by 1.4 million jobs since a recent low point in September 2009.
- Health care employment grew by 26,000 jobs in March 2012, and offices of physicians and hospitals each added 8,000 jobs over the month.
- Financial activities employment was up by 15,000 jobs in March 2012, with most of the gain occurring in credit intermediation with 11,000 added.
On the negative side, retail trade employment fell by 34,000 jobs in March 2012, led by a loss of 32,000 jobs in general merchandise stores. Employment in the other major private-sector industries, including mining, construction, information, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade changed little during the month. Government employment was also essentially unchanged in March 2012.
The employment situation report follows news that jobless claims in U.S. fell to their lowest level in four years, according to the ‘UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT’ from the Department of Labor. In the week ending March 31, 2012, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 357,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 363,000. In addition, the 4-week moving average was 361,750, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 366,000.
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