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U.S. unemployment: 9.7% for 3rd month in a row

The Employment Situation Summary released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 2, 2010 showed that, although nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 during March, the unemployment rate held at 9.7%, the same as in January and February.

Temporary help services and health care jobs continued to increase, as did federal jobs that reflected the hiring of temporary workers for the 2010 Census. Employment in financial activities and in information continued to decline.

The report stated that unemployment rates for various groups showed little change in March:

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.0 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (26.1 percent), whites (8.8 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.6 percent) showed little or no change in March. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted.”

During March, the number of long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more) increased by 414,000 to 6.5 million. In March 44.1% of the unemployed were in this category.

In March there were about 2.3 million people who were marginally attached to the labor force, as compared with 2.1 million a year earlier. These people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not looked for a job in the four weeks before the survey. This group included: 1.0 million discouraged workers, who believe that there are no jobs available for them (up 309,000 from a year earlier). The other 1.3 million people had not searched for work in the preceeding four weeks for other reasons such as school attendance and family responsibilities.

The report had the following to say about employment in various types of work:

“Temporary help services added 40,000 jobs in March. Since September 2009, temporary help services employment has risen by 313,000.

Employment in health care continued to increase in March (27,000), with the largest gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (16,000) and in nursing and residential care facilities (9,000).

In March, employment in mining increased by 8,000. Monthly job gains in mining have averaged 6,000 over the past 5 months.

Employment in federal government was up over the month, reflecting the hiring of 48,000 temporary workers for the decennial census.

Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in March (17,000); the industry has added 45,000 jobs in the first 3 months of 2010. Over the month, job gains were concentrated in fabricated metal products (9,000) and in machinery (6,000).

Employment in construction held steady (15,000) in March. The industry had lost an average of 72,000 jobs per month in the prior 12 months.

Over the month, employment changed little in transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and wholesale trade.

In March, financial activities shed 21,000 jobs, with the largest losses occurring in insurance carriers and related activities (-9,000). Employment in the information industry decreased by 12,000.”

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised upward from -26,000 to +14,000, and the change for February was revised upward from -36,000 to -14,000.

-Bill at

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