Current Unemployment Rate and Other Jobs Report Findings

Current Unemployment Rate and Other Jobs Report Findings
Current Unemployment Rate and Other Jobs Report Findings

Updated April 10 to reflect the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The unemployment rate for March was 3.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}, changing little from February, according to the jobs report released on March 10 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All signs still show the U.S. labor market is strong..

The new rate mostly mirrors that of the last 12 months. In that time, the unemployment rate ranged between 3.7{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} and 3.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} — except for 3.4{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in January, 2023, which was the lowest rate since 1969.

How many jobs were added in March?

The economy added 236,000 (nonfarm) jobs in March, compared to 326,000 in February and 472,000 in January. As for the last few months of 2022, there were 239,000 jobs added in December; 290,000 in November; and 324,000 in October.

What is the current unemployment rate?

The current unemployment rate is 3.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}, a slight increase close to what it was in February and January, and not dramatically different from unemployment rates during 2022. The number of unemployed from both layoffs, firings and temporary jobs ending increased by 197,000 in March to nearly 3 million.

Is unemployment rising or falling?

The unemployment rate has remained low and stable, fluctuating between 3.4{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} and 3.7{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} since March 2022. It decreased slightly from February to March.

How to calculate the unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the number of people in the labor force. (The labor force is considered the sum of those who are currently working or looking for work.) The result is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage:

Number of unemployed people / Labor force x 100 = X{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}, which is the unemployment rate

What is the labor force participation rate?

While the labor force participation rate barely budged since last month — 62.6{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in March compared with 62.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in February — it’s the highest rate since before the pandemic. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working or looking for work.

The rate is calculated as the labor force divided by the total population that’s eligible to work. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the total population that’s eligible to work as the “civilian noninstitutional population,” which refers to people ages 16 and older who are not in military service or incarcerated.) The result is multiplied by 100 to get a percentage:

Labor force / Civilian noninstitutional population x 100 = X{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}, which is the labor force participation rate

Since October 2002, the labor force participation rate was lowest in April 2020 (60.1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}) and highest in June 2003 (66.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}), according to BLS data.

How is the job market right now?

Two key indicators — job openings and quit rate — show that job seekers still have opportunities across fields. There was a small bump in layoffs reported among all employment sectors in January, but the rate has changed little from previous months.

What does the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary report show?

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, or JOLTS, showed job openings are declining, hitting 9.9 million in February. It’s a big decline from the 10.8 million job openings reported for January.

The number of job openings in February declined most in professional and business services; health care and social assistance; and transportation, warehousing and utilities. In the previous month, the most significant declines were in accommodation and food services, and finance and insurance.

In February, job openings increased in both construction and in arts, entertainment and recreation. In the previous month, the largest increase in openings were found in transportation, warehousing and utilities, and in nondurable goods manufacturing.

Despite some recent high profile layoffs in tech and media industries, the rate of layoffs (1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}) remained relatively unchanged from January to February, according to the JOLTS report.

What is the quit rate?

The JOLTS report also showed the quit rate increased slightly from month to month: 2.6{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in February compared with 2.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in January. Economists say quit rates are a key factor in the health of employment prospects since quitting shows that workers feel safe making a job switch within their sector or outside it entirely.

Compared with the previous month, February quit rates increased most in professional and business services; accommodation and food services; wholesale trade; and education services. Quit rates declined most in finance and insurance.

Are wages increasing?

Wages are starting to moderate. The  Employment Cost Index measures wage and salary growth. The Jan. 31 report shows the index for labor costs increased by 1.0{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in the final quarter of 2022 compared with 1.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} in the previous quarter. The costs in the fourth quarter when measured year-over-year show an increase of 5.1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}; the previous quarter showed a 5.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} increase year-over-year.

Will unemployment rise?

With a labor market this tight it’s hard to see it slackening anytime soon. Even so, multiple forecasts are predicting job losses in 2023.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates nine times since March 2022 in an effort to bring down inflation, which is expected to eventually lead to a higher unemployment rate.

Jobs report: What is employment like in your field?

Workers wondering if it’s time to make a move in their jobs might want to consider what’s happening with employment in their industry.

Here’s what you need to know, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, seasonally adjusted, over time:

Employed in March: 7,888,000

Employed in February: 7,897,000

Employed in February 2020: 7,646,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: -0.1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +3.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Private education services

Employed in March: 3,917,100

Employed in February: 3,902,500

Employed in February 2020: 3,838,100

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.4{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +2.1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 9,098,000

Employed in February: 9,099,000

Employed in February 2020: 8,850,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: -0.01{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +2.8{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 22,557,000

Employed in February: 22,510,000

Employed in February 2020: 22,775,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: 21{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: -1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Health care and social assistance

Employed in March: 21,171,300

Employed in February: 21,120,500

Employed in February 2020: 20,753,300

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 3,093,000

Employed in February: 3,087,000

Employed in February 2020: 2,898,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +6.7{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 16,577,000

Employed in February: 16,505,000

Employed in February 2020: 16,873,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.4{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: -1.8{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 12,983,000

Employed in February: 12,984,000

Employed in February 2020: 12,861,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: – 0.01{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 635,000

Employed in February: 632,000

Employed in February 2020: 717,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.5{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: -11{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Professional and business services

Employed in March: 22,952,000

Employed in February: 22,913,000

Employed in February 2020: 21,569,000

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +6.4{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 15,526,800

Employed in February: 15,541,400

Employed in February 2020: 15,659,400

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: -0.1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: -0.8{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Transportation and warehousing

Employed in March: 6,726,500

Employed in February: 6,716,100

Employed in February 2020: 5,681,700

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +18.4{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

Employed in March: 6,055,300

Employed in February: 6,048,600

Employed in February 2020: 5,936,200

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February: +0.1{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c} change since February 2020: +2{3df20c542cc6b6b63f1c547f8fb389a9f235bb0504150b9df2ff264aa9a6c16c}

When is the next jobs report?

The next jobs report will show data for April and will be released on May 5.