U.S. Nonfarm Payroll Increases by 431,000 in March; Unemployment Declines to 3.6%

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today (4-1-22) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 431,000 in March, following revised increases of 750,000 in February and 504,000 in January. In 2022 Q1, job growth averaged 562,000, the same average monthly gain as seen in 2021 Q1. Even with March’s gains, nonfarm payroll employment is still down by -1.6 million (-1.0%) from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Job growth was widespread in March, with notable increases occurring in leisure and hospitality (+112,000), professional and business services (+102,000), retail trades (+49,000), and manufacturing (+38,000).

The unemployment rate edged -0.2% lower to a reading of 3.6%, and the number of unemployed persons moved 318,000 lower to 6.0 million. In February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, and the number of unemployed persons was 5.7 million.

Construction sector employment—which includes both residential and non-residential—totaled 7.6 million in March. The residential construction sector gained 7,600 jobs, while non-residential construction added 11,300 jobs during the month of March. Residential construction sector employment currently exceeds its level in February 2020, while 76% of non-residential construction jobs lost in March and April of 2020 have now been recovered.

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