America’s employers added a solid 236,000 jobs in March, suggesting that the economy remains on solid footing despite the nine interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has imposed over the past year in its drive to tame inflation.
The labor market continues to thrive despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and tamp down inflation.
Nearly all of last month’s hiring occurred in services industries—from restaurants and hotels to retailers and health care companies.
The survey adds to evidence that informal work has been increasingly prevalent in the U.S. economy, a trend further exacerbated by the pandemic, social media and remote work.
The job eliminations arrive after CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to reassure workers that he didn’t “anticipate more layoffs” after the company slashed 11,000 jobs—roughly 13 percent of its workforce—in November.
Jerome Powell’s remarks followed the government’s blockbuster report last week that employers added 517,000 jobs in January, nearly double December’s gain. The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 53 years, 3.4%.
Employers are holding on to their workers despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to slow the economy and tamp down inflation.
The U.S. labor market showed little sign of slowing last month, maintaining a surprisingly robust pace despite a slowdown in the tech industry.
Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs, and viewed with other employment data, shows that American workers are enjoying extraordinary job security at the moment, despite an economy with some glaring weaknesses.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since August but still remains low by historic standards.
The report suggests demand for workers remains robust despite rapid interest-rate hikes and a darkening economic outlook. Layoffs, while rising, are still historically low, and competition to fill millions of vacant positions has driven rapid wage gains.
All eyes will now turn to the Labor Department’s October jobs report Friday, the last peek at the state of the economy ahead of the midterm elections.
The pickup in claims—if sustained—would suggest lackluster spending in various sectors and uncertainty about the economy’s prospects are prompting some businesses to lay off workers.
U.S. job openings plummeted in August, likely a welcome sign for Federal Reserve officials as they seek to cool demand for workers without triggering a spike in unemployment.