March 2019 Jobs Report: Labor Market Just Keeps on Trucking
In March the US economy added 196,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate was at 3.8%, unchanged from the previous month.
As predicted, the March jobs report showed a bounceback from a surprising February. Even as some have worried about the direction of the economy overall, the labor market has continued to add jobs at a steady pace. Despite last month’s low number, job growth during this recovery has been remarkably consistent. In March the US economy added 196,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate was at 3.8%, unchanged from the previous month.
Of course, any report has its clouds. For the first time in two and a half years, the share of the unemployed who are long-term unemployed was higher than it was at this time last year. In addition, the share of workers who are stuck in part-time employment but who would prefer full-time work, ticked up after finally hitting its low from the previous recovery last month.
However, overall, the March jobs report has good news for workers (and all of us). A strong labor market continues to provide more economic opportunities for those who had not fully benefited from the recovery. Wage growth continued above 3% for the sixth straight month.
While we shouldn’t ignore those clouds, they shouldn’t distract us from the overall message of this report: the labor market continues to shrug off headwinds and chug along.
Martha Gimbel was the Research Director for the Hiring Lab. Previously she was the Research Director and Senior Economist at the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill, a senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Labor, and an economist at the Council of Economic Advisers focusing on labor market issues. She has an undergraduate degree from Brown University, where she studied classics and economics, and a master’s degree from the University of California, San Diego in economics.