Apr 7, 2023 - Economy

U.S. economy adds 236,000 jobs in March as labor market stays strong

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. labor market continues to add jobs at a strong pace: Payrolls rose by 236,000 in March, while the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5%, the lowest level in over a half-century, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: Employers still have plenty of demand for workers, despite aggressive efforts from the Federal Reserve to cool off the economy.

  • The payroll gains are roughly in line with what economists expected.
  • The March gains are strong, but there are signs of a gradually cooling hiring trend. According to revisions from the Labor Department, the economy added 472,000 jobs in January and 326,000 payrolls in February.

The big picture: Economists are closely watching the March jobs report to confirm whether the economy continued to pick up steam.

  • To help put a lid on inflation, Fed officials have said they want to see demand for workers more in balance with the supply.
  • It's among the first major economic releases for March, when Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank collapsed and sparked fears about the financial system's health. Surveys used to compile the jobs data, however, were conducted in mid-March, while those events were still unfolding.

By the numbers: Average hourly earnings — a measure of wage growth — rose 0.3%. Over the year through March, hourly earnings are up 4.2%.

  • Meanwhile, the share of people employed or searching for jobs — known as the labor force participation rate — rose to 62.6% (a tick higher than the 62.5% in February).
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