Unemployment Edges Back Up

April 5, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The unemployment rate inched up by 0.2% in March, a further sign that the economic recovery is struggling to take hold.

According to data from the US Department of Labor (DoL), the unemployment rate ticked up to a worse than anticipated 5.7% in March from 5.5% in February. This translates to 8.1 million unemployed workers.

While the March reading was largely in line with expectations – and the 58,000 jobs added somewhat better than anticipated – the DOL drastically revised the jobs added figure for February.  Instead of a 66,000 job gain, the figure was revised down to reveal a 2,000 drop in payrolls. No explanation for the adjustment was given.

Figures from the DoL show that the number of workers on US payrolls grew by 58,000 in March, a slightly larger increase than the 41,000 projected by economists in a Reuters poll.

Manufacturing and construction each lost nearly 40,000 jobs in March, but services employment grew substantially – the largest gain in a year and a half for the sector.  The losses in manufacturing were the lowest since late 2000, according to Reuters. 

Both the manufacturing workweek and overtime hours rose over the month.