Job Growth Exceeds Expectations in March

April 7, 2006 ( - Non-farm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in March, above analyst expectations.

Reuters reports that analysts had forecast a 190,000 job gain for the month and no change in the unemployment rate from February’s 4.8%.   The unemployment rate fell, though, to 4.7%, equal to January’s jobless rate but the lowest since July 2001 when it was 4.6%, according to Reuters.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the March increase was concentrated in the service-providing sector, with gains in several industries, including professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and health care.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 52,000 over the month, BLS reports. The gain was spread among most of the sector’s component industries.   Leisure and hospitality employment rose by 42,000 in March, while Health care added 24,000 jobs.

In the goods-producing sector, mining employment continued to expand in March, rising by 6,000.  Most of the gain occurred in support activities for mining, particularly those related to oil and gas. Manufacturing employment was little changed in March and has decreased by 56,000 over the year. While Construction employment was also essentially unchanged in March, the industry has added 311,000 jobs over the year.

The BLS news release is here .