US adds only 88,000 jobs in March, half the amount expected

05 April 2013 14:23  [Source: ICIS news]

US adds only 88,000 jobs in March, half the amount expectedWASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy added only 88,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said on Friday, less than half of what many economists had been expecting and far below the 236,000 jobs created in February.

In its monthly report on employment, the department said that the nation’s unemployment rate edged lower in March to 7.6% from the February reading of 7.7%, but that was largely because more people left the workforce.

The report said that nearly half a million workers – 496,000 – left the civilian labour force in March, which means they are not counted as among the unemployed.

Economists had been expecting job growth in March in the range of 150,000 to 200,000.

The number of unemployed in the US was put at 11.7m in March. But another 7.6m people were employed only part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs, and 2.3m persons were marginally attached to the workforce, meaning they want jobs but have given up looking for work.

With only 88,000 jobs added in March, the economy is not generating enough work to meet the needs of young people entering the workforce for the first time.

Economists say the nation should generate 150,000 jobs monthly to accommodate first-time job seekers, and the economy should produce some 300,000 jobs a month for multiple quarters in order to make significant reductions in the unemployment rate.

The department said that over the last 12 months, employment growth has averaged 169,000 jobs per month, just above the pace needed to accommodate new workers.

The report said that the 88,000 jobs added last month were chiefly in business services and health care, but that retail trade employment fell.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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