By: Kellie Lail

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its March 2023 Report, so let’s take a look at how employment fared over the last month.

The great news is: 

In March, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 people. The unemployment rate in March decreased to 3.5%, remaining in the narrow window of 3.5%-3.7% since March of 2022. Leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, government, and health care garnered the largest share of new jobs over the last month.

The good news is: 

The number of unemployed persons decreased slightly to 5.8 million people in March from 5.9 million people in February. The labor force participation rate continued to trend up in March at 62.6% but still remained below the pre-pandemic levels of 63.3%. The number of people not in the labor force who do currently want a job decreased to 4.9 million in March, falling below the pre-pandemic, February 2020 level of 5.1 million people. Keep in mind, these 4.9 million people were not counted as unemployed because they were unavailable to take a job or were not actively looking for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. In March, average hourly earnings for private non-farm payroll jobs increased by 0.3%, or 9 cents, to $33.18. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.2% and the average work week for these employees also edged down by 0.1 hours to an average work week of 34.4 hours in March.

The bad news is: 

The number of permanent job losers increased to 1.6 million persons in March, an increase of 172,000 people. The number of long-term unemployed, people who were without a job for 27 weeks or more, was essentially unchanged from January, remaining at 1.1 million for the third month in a row and accounting for 18.9% of all unemployed persons in March. The number of discouraged workers who believed there were no jobs available to them remained little changed from February at 351,000 people, a decrease of 12,000 people.

Keep in mind: With the number of unemployed persons remaining relatively steady over recent months, competition in the job market continues to build. Transparency is key. You want to ensure candidates know exactly what they are signing up for when applying to your job. To attract the best candidates, you must show them that you are the most competitive employer in terms of salary, benefits, career stability, remote or flexibility options, and career growth opportunities.

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