Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
William J. Wiatrowski
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Friday, April 7, 2017
The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to
4.5 percent in March. Nonfarm payroll employment edged up by
98,000, following gains in January (+216,000) and February
(+219,000). In March, job gains occurred in professional and
business services and in mining, while retail employment
Employment in professional and business services increased
by 56,000 in March and has grown by 639,000 over the year.
Within the industry, services to buildings and dwellings
(+17,000) and architectural and engineering services (+7,000)
added jobs over the month.
Mining added 11,000 jobs in March, mostly in support
activities for mining. Employment in the industry has expanded
by 35,000 since a recent low point in October 2016.
In March, health care employment continued to trend up
(+14,000). Over the month, hospitals (+9,000) and outpatient
care centers (+6,000) added jobs. In the first 3 months of this
year, health care has added an average of 20,000 jobs per month,
compared with an average monthly gain of 32,000 in 2016.
Employment in financial activities also continued to trend
up in March (+9,000). Over the year, employment in the industry
has increased by 178,000, with much of the gain in credit
intermediation and in real estate.
Construction employment changed little in March (+6,000),
following a gain of 59,000 in February. Employment in
construction has been trending up since late last summer,
largely among specialty trade contractors and in residential
In March, retail trade employment declined by 30,000.
Within the industry, employment in general merchandise stores
fell by 35,000 over the month and has declined by 89,000 since
Employment in other major industries--manufacturing,
wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information,
leisure and hospitality, and government--showed little or no
change over the month.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls increased by 5 cents in March, following a gain of 7
cents in February. Over the past 12 months, average hourly
earnings have risen by 2.7 percent. From February 2016 to
February 2017, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers
(CPI-U) increased by 2.8 percent (on a seasonally adjusted
Turning now to data from the survey of households, both the
unemployment rate, at 4.5 percent, and the number of unemployed
people, at 7.2 million, declined in March. The number of people
searching for work for 27 weeks or more was little changed at
1.7 million. These long-term unemployed accounted for 23.3
percent of the total unemployed.
The labor force participation rate remained at 63.0 percent
over the month, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.1
percent, changed little. The employment-population ratio has
edged up over the year, while the labor force participation rate
has shown no clear trend.
Among people employed in March, the number working part
time for economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-
time workers, was 5.6 million. This measure was little changed
over the month but was down by 567,000 from a year earlier.
In March, among those neither working nor looking for work,
1.6 million were considered marginally attached to the labor
force, little different from a year earlier. Discouraged
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that
no jobs were available for them, numbered 460,000 in March, down
by 125,000 from a year earlier. (People who are marginally
attached to the labor force had not looked for work in the 4
weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available for
work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.)
In summary, the unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent
in March, and nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000.