Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bill Mitchell — US labour market steadies in March 2019

Last week’s (April 5, 2019) release by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of their latest labour market data – Employment Situation Summary – March 2019 – is still being affected by the variability in the sampling and benchmarking changes made by the BLS. However, working through those impacts, one concludes that the US labour market is still adding jobs, albeit at a slower pace than last year. The unemployment rate remains low (at 3.81 per cent) and the participation rate has come off a bit, indicating a slowdown in underway, although month-to-month variability should not be taken as a trend. It is also clear that there is still a substantial jobs deficit remaining and considerable scope for increased participation.

Overview for March 2019
  • Payroll employment rose by 196,000 – big shift from February.
  • Total labour force survey employment fell by 201 thousand net (-0.12 per cent).
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force fell by 224 thousand (-0.14 per cent).
  • Official unemployment fell by 24 thousand to 6.211 million.
  • The official unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.82 per cent.
  • The participation rate was fell by 0.2 points to 63 per cent but remains well below the peak in December 2006 (66.4 per cent). Adjusting for age effects, the rise in those who have given up looking for work for one reason or another since December 2006 is around 3,693 thousand workers. The corresponding unemployment rate would be 5.8 per cent, far higher than the current official rate.
  • The broad labour underutilisation measure (U6) was unchanged at 7.3 per cent.
Further, for those who are confused about the difference between the payroll (establishment) data and the household survey data you should read this blog – US labour market is in a deplorable state – where I explain the differences in detail....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
US labour market steadies in March 2019
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

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