When the jobs report from January was discouraging, some feared a slowdown in 2016. Fortunately, that no longer appears to be the case.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in March, exceeding projections. The overall unemployment rate inched up a bit to 5.0%, though we’ve been at or below this level for six consecutive months – conditions we haven’t seen in over eight years.
As for the revisions: January’s job totals were revised down a little, from 172,000 to 168,000, while February’s totals were also revised up a little, from 242,000 to 245,000. Combined, that’s not much of a change.
Regardless, this is another encouraging jobs report – including a heartening bump in average hourly earnings – that reinforces the belief that the U.S. labor market is resilient and healthy. Indeed, the overall labor force has grown by over 1.9 million workers since November – more Americans are entering the job market – which is the strongest totals we’ve seen in 16 years.
Over the last 12 months, the overall economy has created 2.8 million new jobs, which is a strong number. What’s more, March was the 66th consecutive month of positive job growth – the best stretch since 1939 – and the 73rd consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.