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Jobs report disappoints – weaker than expected number driving mortgage rates lower

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up in March (+88,000), and the unemployment rate was
little changed at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment grew in professional and business services and in health care but declined
in retail trade.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons,at 11.7 million, and the unemployment rate, at
7.6 percent, were little changed in March. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.9 percent),
adult women (7.0 percent), teenagers (24.2 percent), whites (6.7 percent), blacks
(13.3 percent), and Hispanics (9.2 percent) showed little or no change in March. The
jobless rate for Asians was 5.0 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from
a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In March, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was
little changed at 4.6 million. These individuals accounted for 39.6 percent of the
unemployed. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force declined by 496,000 over the month, and the labor force
participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 63.3 percent. The employment-
population ratio, at 58.5 percent, changed little. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 350,000 over the month to 7.6 million. These
individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because
they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In March, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially
unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 803,000 discouraged workers in March, little
changed from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for
them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March
had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
(See table A-16.)


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