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A female and male reviewing the April 2024 jobs report to look at March labor market trends.

Labor Market and Economy Report: A Look at Trends in March 2024

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Executive Summary

Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job creation in March continued to outperform expectations, with 303,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy last month, compared to the average monthly gain of 231,000 jobs over the prior 12 months. The largest increases in jobs in March were within the healthcare, government and construction industries, accounting for 182,000 of the new jobs.

Meanwhile, BLS reported little job growth in manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and professional and business services.

Of note, the ratio of private-sector employees to government-sector employees has now decreased every month since December 2022 — from 5.9-to-1 to 5.8-to-1 — according to St. Louis Federal Reserve statistics. That’s the longest period of consecutive declines since June 2007 to May 2010.

Unemployment and Labor Force Participation

The unemployment rate was relatively unchanged in March at 3.8%, with the number of unemployed people holding around 6.4 million. Following three months of a steady 62.5%, the labor force participation rate changed in March to 62.7%.

Unemployment rates, specific to some of the industries Aston Carter supports, were as follows for March: finance and insurance (2%), professional and business services (4.6%), professional and technical services (3.1%), manufacturing (3.1%), and hospitals (1.5%).

Among skilled labor categories for which Aston Carter sources talent, unemployment in business and financial was 2.4%, while office and administrative unemployment was 3.8%.

March also saw important changes in inflation and wage growth. Year-over-year inflation rose higher than expected, increasing from 3.2% in February to 3.5% in March.

Average hourly earnings increased 4.1% between March 2023 and March 2024. The year-over-year hourly earnings rate has now decreased two months in a row, down from 4.3% in February and 4.4% in January.

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April 2024 jobs report show March labor trends of 303K jobs gained & 3.8% unemployment rate.

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