Apr 5, 2024 - Economy

U.S. adds 303,000 jobs in March as unemployment rate dips

A "We're hiring" sign

Photo: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Image

Job growth surged in March, as employers added 303,000 positions and the unemployment rate edged down, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. labor market has proved remarkably resilient over the last year, as employers keep seeking workers despite a bumpy economic environment. The latest numbers affirm that strength, handily beating analysts' forecasts.

By the numbers: The jobless rate fell as more people entered the work force — a good sign for growth potential.

  • The labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 62.7%.
  • Average hourly earnings were up 0.3%, and are up 4.1% over the last year.
  • The biggest categories of job gains were health care (up 81,300 jobs) and government (up 71,000).

Zoom out: Revisions pushed January and February's already-strong job growth numbers higher yet, by 22,000 additional positions.

State of play: Unemployment has now been below 4% since February 2022, more than two full years.

  • Analysts had expected employers to add 212,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 3.9%.
  • The Federal Reserve has been signaling interest rate cuts ahead at some point this year, with some uncertainty around when they may occur. A weaker job market could pull those plans earlier, but it didn't arrive in March.

Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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