March Job Numbers - A lot of “Little Changed”

Friday, April 5, 2013 -- Clearly the folks issuing the monthly job numbers at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) aren’t having any kind of a relationship with a thesaurus. Then again, how many different ways are there to say that something is “little changed?”

Consistency – whether you view it as stasis or stability – was the order of business for the March national job and unemployment numbers.

Unemployment rate? – “Little changed” at 7.6 %. Number of unemployed persons? 11.7 million, also “little changed.”

Major worker groups – adult men, women, teenagers, whites, blacks and Latinos  - showed “little or no change” from last month.

Long-term unemployed (those out of work 27 weeks or longer, AKA so many JVS WorkSource Center clients), accounting for nearly 40% of the total unemployed...again, “little changed” at 4.6 million.

Are we detecting a pattern?

JVSWorks recounted the encouragement over the March California state data, but that’s about as good as it gets for now. Acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris noted that national unemployment has been under 8% for seven consecutive months and private employment has increased for each of the last 37 months with 6.5 million jobs created over those past three years.

Harris also acknowledged in a DOL news release that “the U.S economy continues to bounce back, but not quickly enough for too many middle-class families...The economy is not yet clicking on all cylinders.”

Of some interest, at least on the JVS front, is the fact that professional and business services and health care both saw surges in employment in March, with a gain of 23,000 jobs – 15,000 in ambulatory care services and 8,000 in hospitals. The new Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) graduates of JVS HealthWorks™ due to receive their certificates next week will, hopefully, take heart and – we hope – quickly find work.

Leisure and hospitality are also up, with 13,000 new jobs created in March and 262,000 created over the past year. Construction is also seeing a surge, while retail trade employment shed 24,000 jobs after six months of adding  an average 32,000 jobs over the past six months.

Secretary Harris also put in a plug for the push to employ returning U.S. servicemen and women, which he maintains is a priority of the Obama Administration.

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“Every American who is willing to work hard deserves a job, but we owe a special debt to our nation’s veterans,” Harris said in the Department of Labor’s news release. “Recently released 2012 figures show veterans finding and keeping jobs in larger numbers. Additional resources to help service members complete the transition to civilian life are an important way to honor their sacrifice and a sound investment in a growing economy powered by a thriving middle class.”

Check out all the March data here.