April 5, 2016 – Employers added 215,000 jobs in March as the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to five percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Currently, there are eight million people unemployed in the U.S. This report follows the addition of 242,000 jobs in February when the U.S. unemployment rate held at a low of 4.9 percent.
“While the unemployment rate has been holding steady, a slight rise in coming months could actually be a positive move – if driven by rising labor force participation, which would mean that potential workers see hope for themselves in the labor market and have started to look for jobs,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
“The increase in the unemployment rate came not because of fewer people working, but because more people were looking for jobs,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services.
Job growth occurred in retail trade, construction and healthcare while job losses occurred in manufacturing and mining.
Here’s a closer look:
- Retail trade added 48,000 jobs in March. Employment gains occurred in general merchandise stores (+12,000), health and personal care stores (+10,000), building material and garden supply stores (+10,000), and automobile dealers (+5,000). Over the past 12 months, retail trade has added 378,000 jobs;
- Construction employment rose by 37,000 during the month. Job gains occurred among residential specialty trade contractors (+12,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000). Over the year, construction has added 301,000 jobs;
- Employment in healthcare increased by 37,000 over the month, about in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. In March, employment rose in ambulatory healthcare services (+27,000) and hospitals (+10,000). Over the year, healthcare employment has increased by 503,000;
- Employment continued to trend up in food services (+25,000) and in financial activities (+15,000);
- Employment in professional and business services changed little for the third month in a row. In 2015, the industry added an average of 52,000 jobs per month;
- Employment in manufacturing declined by 29,000 in March. Most of the job losses occurred in durable goods industries (-24,000), including machinery (-7,000), primary metals (-3,000), and semiconductors and electronic components (-3,000);
- Mining employment continued to decline during the month (-12,000) with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-10,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, employment in mining has decreased by 185,000;
- Employment in all other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, changed little over the month.
Looking ahead, U.S. employers remain confident in their hiring plans, with 36 percent of employers planning to add full-time, permanent employees in 2016, according to CareerBuilder‘s annual job forecast. Nearly half of employers (47 percent) plan to hire temporary or contract workers.
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Comparing industries, financial services (46 percent), information technology (44 percent), and healthcare (43 percent) are expected to outperform the national average for employers adding full-time staff. Manufacturing (37 percent) is expected to mirror the national average.
According to the ‘2016 Hiring Outlook: Strategies for Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Market’ report released by The Execu | Search Group, 66 percent of employers plan to hire additional staff this year.
With companies continuing to hire, employees have their eyes set on new positions.
Twenty-one percent of workers plan to look for new jobs in 2016, according to a new study released by Penna. Forty-eight percent of people claimed the main reason for the change was that they were searching for better pay and benefits. Another 44 percent said it was down to the promise of greater development opportunities, while 32 percent said they were simply looking for a change in career direction. Penna’s survey found that employees aged 18-24 were the most likely to be planning a move this year, while 25 percent of those aged 25-34 are considering leaving their posts.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media