The recent release of the March 2016 jobs report surprised many on Wall Street with an estimated 215,000 jobs added to the economy – 12,000 more than the anticipated 203,000. Employment gains were primarily seen in retail, construction and healthcare, while the number of manufacturing and mining jobs dropped even further since September.
Wages also saw a higher increase than expected with average hourly earnings rising 0.3% from February’s report and 2.3% since March 2015. Unemployment ticked up 0.1% to an overall rate of 5.0%, countering the projected number of 4.9%. Although a rise in the unemployment rate may not seem like a positive sign, Forbes reports that the increase is a result of more people looking for work as opposed to higher numbers of unemployed. The labor force participation rate was up by 0.1% from February and by 0.3% since January 2016. The overall labor force grew from 158,890,000 in February to 159,286,000 in March.
Revisions to total nonfarm payroll employment for January decreased from 172,000 to 168,000, while February revisions show a slight increase from 242,000 to 245,000. Overall, the total employment gains in the first two months of 2016 were 1,000 less than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 209,000 per month.
Finance industry employment stays strong
Job growth in the finance sector stayed strong with 15,000 jobs added in financial activities, showing a steady increase over the past few months. The unemployment rate dropped from 3.6% in the industry to 3.0%, a good sign for those searching for finance jobs in the upcoming months. Average hourly earnings in financial activities increased from $31.98 to $32.14, the highest the industry has seen since last December.
Overall, both the finance industry and labor market has seen a steady growth over the past few months and will hopefully continue to improve its numbers for the remainder of 2016.