Jobs report: US economy adds 236,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls to 3.5%
The U.S. labor market continued to show signs of cooling in March, as employers added 236,000 workers, lower than expected and the lowest monthly gain since December 2020. However, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, indicating that the labor market remains strong. The economy had added an average of 334,000 jobs each month over the last six months.
The labor force participation rate also ticked higher in March, rising to 62.6% from 62.5% in February. Average weekly hours worked fell slightly to 34.4 from 34.5. A slowdown in wage growth — from 4.6% over the prior year in February to 4.2% in March — served as another sign in Friday’s report some labor market pressures are easing.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% in March, pushing the 12-month increase to 4.2%, the lowest level since June 2021. This is also a sign that the labor market is cooling down.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in March, in line with the average monthly growth over the prior six months. Within the industry, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services continued its upward trend in March. However, jobs in the real estate rental and leasing sector stayed flat, but demand is expected to rise as warmer weather in late spring and the school year ends mean an uptick in moving and relocation.
Overall, the March jobs report indicates that the U.S. labor market is still strong but cooling down. With the unemployment rate at 3.5%, now is the perfect time for companies to find and hire the best talent. So don’t hesitate reach out today to take advantage of the strong labor market and find the perfect candidates to help your company grow and succeed.