March employment

As far as employment went, March looked a lot like February — a small improvement. The employment data for March showed nonfarm payroll increased by 216,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped slightly 8.8% (compared with 8.9% in February and 9% in January. The number of involuntary underemployed (part time for economic reasons) was also basically unchanged (rose very slightly). The number of workers part-time due slack work (essential layoffs) continued to go down – indicating a pickup in production. However, overall involuntary underemployment has been stuck at roughly the same level for two years.
The numbers were better that economists predicted. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by 195,000 and that the jobless rate would remain unchanged at 8.9%.” The biggest increases were in administrative support jobs, health care and food and hotel jobs. Government employment decline.