The BLS reports March jobs as +164K with the unemployment rate falling to 3.9%. Revisions were positive, wages anemic.

Initial Reaction

Today’s establishment survey shows jobs rose by 164,000. The household survey (Table A) shows employment rose by a mere 3,000. Once again there are wild swings and divergences between the two surveys.

The Econoday consensus estimate was +191,000 jobs in a range of 145,000 to 255,000.

February’s whopping 326,000 establishment survey report looks more and more like an outlier.

Nonfarm wage growth was pathetic at +0.1%. Moreover, the BLS revised March wage growth from +0.3% to +0.2%

The unemployment rate dropped as the labor force declined by 236,000.

Job Revisions

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down from +326,000 to +324,000, and the change for March was revised up from +103,000 to +135,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were
30,000 more than previously reported.

Let’s dive into the details in the BLS Employment Situation Summary, unofficially called the Jobs Report.

BLS Jobs Statistics at a Glance

  • Nonfarm Payroll: +164,000 – Establishment Survey
  • Employment: +3,000 – Household Survey
  • Unemployment: -239,000 – Household Survey
  • Involuntary Part-Time Work: -34,000 – Household Survey
  • Voluntary Part-Time Work: -141,000 – Household Survey
  • Baseline Unemployment Rate: -0.2 to 3.9% – Household Survey
  • U-6 unemployment: -0.2 to 7.8% – Household Survey
  • Civilian Non-institutional Population: +163,000
  • Civilian Labor Force: -236,000 – Household Survey
  • Not in Labor Force: +410,000 – Household Survey
  • Participation Rate: -0.1 to 62.8– Household Survey
  • Employment Report Statement

    Payroll employment edges up by 103,000 in March; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%. Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent. Employment increased in manufacturing, health care, and mining.

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