US economy added 236,000 jobs in March: which sectors saw the greatest gains and loses?
239,000 jobs were added to the US economy in March. We looked at the industries and sectors where the largest numbers of jobs were lost and gained.
Last month, the US economy gained 236,000 jobs, leading the national unemployment rate to fall by 0.1 percent to 3.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The labor force participation rate, which represents the ratio of people who are of working age and have a job, rose slightly to 62.6 from 62.5 in February. Over the last year, this figure has increased by around a third of a percent.
Industries where the demand for labor remains high
Compared to the numbers recorded in February 2023, the leisure and hospitality (+72,000), private education and health services (+65,000), and accommodation and food services (+55,000) industries added the largest number of jobs. These three industries have also added the greatest number of jobs so far this year. The continuous rise in employment in these sectors indicates spaces in the economy where demand for labor remains high.
A longer view...
Looking at a longer period, March 2022 to March 2023, the industries to see the more significant surge in employment are private service-providing, where 3.15 million jobs have been added, followed by private education and health services (+1.03 million), leisure and hospitality (+987,000).
Demand for workers is falling in these industries
On the other hand, some industries and sectors (which are sub-categories that fall under certain industries tracked by the BLS) have and continue to lose jobs.
Last month the number of workers employed in retail fell by 15,000 jobs, representing the greatest month-to-month change in from February to March; other industries and sectors, including warehousing and storage (-12,000), temporary help services, and construction (-9,000, respectively). The warehousing and storage sector has seen the largest fall in the number of workers this year, losing around 23,000 since January.
Workers employed in temporary positions have seen the highest decrease, which is not unexpected considering the nature of these roles as non-permanent; around 130,000 temporary workers have been removed from the payroll over the last year.
Other major losses have been tracked in the following sectors: employment services (-81,000), general merchandise retailers (-74,000), warehouse clubs, supercenters, and other general merchandise retailers (-53,000), and furniture, home furnishings, electronics, and appliance retailers (-51,000).
The loss of retail jobs is a sign of the impact e-commerce has had on the market, and if these trends continue, it will be important to see if the workers who have left or been laid off are able to find new jobs without significant hardship.
The number of discouraged and underemployed workers continues to fall
Another important indicator tracked by the BLS is the number of workers who are “marginally attached to the labor market,” which the agency defines as people who are not in the labor force but want a job. Over the last year, this figure has fallen to 1.289 million from 1.372 million workers, representing a percent decrease of just over six percent.
Critically, the number of “discouraged workers,” who represent a sub-group of the marginally attached, has also fallen over the last year. Discouraged workers are those who are willing and able to work, have been searching for a job for twelve months, but have stopped their hunt after, as the name indicates, becoming discouraged. Since March 2022, this sub-group has also shrunk from 374 to 351, or as a rate, the number of discouraged workers has fallen by around 6.15 percent.