Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services (+40,000), health care (+22,000) and retail trade (+26,000), while mining lost jobs (-11,000).
Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, showed little change over the month.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $24.86. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent. In March, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.86.
Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.8 million, respectively.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.6 million in March. These individuals accounted for 29.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million.