The Department of Labor released its March employment situation report (link opens in PDF) today, and the news is lackluster at best. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 88,000, but market analysts were expecting a 193,000 hike after February's revised 286,000 jump.

The unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points, to 7.6%, continuing its recovery decline. But for March, at least, the decrease was due to a 496,000 drop in labor force numbers, rather than an increase in those employed.


Source: Labor Department

In the private sector, health care led gains, with a steady 23,000 bump, while retail trade knocked 24,000 off its payroll after averaging 32,000 new jobs per month for the last six months. The U.S. Postal Service put the squeeze on government employment, falling 12,000 in March.

For those remaining employed, March's hourly earnings numbers leave little reason to celebrate. Analysts had expected a slight 0.2% bump, to $24.29 from $23.82, but earnings increased by #0.01 from February.

The article Employment Oozes and Labor Force Shrinks in March originally appeared on Fool.com.

Y ou can follow Justin Loiseau on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Income Investing

Grow your nest-egg.

View Course »

Small Cap Investing

Learn now to invest in small companies the right way.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum