Insights and Perspective

 

Insights and Perspective

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Job Creation Maintains Healthy Expansion in March

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) report and Current Population Survey (CPS) for March 2022 on Friday, April 1st. The monthly change in employment given by the CES and the unemployment rate from the CPS are seen as the standard gauges for assessing the health of the U.S. labor market.

Employment in the U.S. rose by 431,000 jobs. The jobs report exceeded the Geographic Solutions, Inc. forecast of 382,000, but the forecast outperformed the Wall Street Journal estimate of 490,000 new jobs. Geographic Solutions, Inc. derives its employment forecast from internal data on the number of job searchers, job applications, job severances, and applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). 

The unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, below the Geographic Solutions forecast of 3.8% and the WSJ forecast of 3.7%. The unemployment rate forecast used internal data on the number of job openings, job searchers, job applications, job severances, and the number of applications for unemployment benefits filed on Geographic Solutions state client sites. The forecast uses unemployment claims data from the USDOL.

Job creation was strongest in Leisure & Hospitality (112,000) and Professional & Business services (102,000). Job growth was widespread with all major industries seeing job increases in March.

In March the Construction industry joined Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; and Financial Activities as one of the sectors that has recovered all jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. Leisure & Hospitality employment continues to surge but is the only sector to remain more than 5% below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The labor force participation rate increased to 62.4% from the previous month. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate counts discouraged workers who are no longer actively seeking work (and therefore no longer in the labor force) and those that have settled for part-time employment but desire a full-time job. This measure of unemployment fell to 6.9%. A growing labor force participation rate along with strong job growth indicate that the labor market is on a healthy path.

March employment continued its record streak of growing by more than 400,000 jobs per month since May 2021. At this pace jobs should return to their February 2020 total in four months. Many of the detrimental effects of inflation, interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine drawing concern were not noticeable in the results. Their impact may have been counteracted by the decline in Covid-19 cases during the period, and higher inflation may have unexpectedly spurred some retirees to re-enter the workforce. However, these monetary and geopolitical threats to the economy certainly remain in the months to come.



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