Norfolk, VA Jobs Report
Job gains rebounded strongly with the addition of 196,000 new nonfarm jobs. Unemployment held firm at a half-century low of 3.8 percent. After February’s minimal job gains (33,000, revised up from 20,000) and despite leading indicators pointing to a potential economic slowdown (e.g. inflation fears, unresolved trade tensions), “spring has sprung” on the jobs front. “February was a fluke,” economist Nariman Behravesh told NPR. While not as white hot as a year ago, the economy continues to grow and remains on fundamentally firm footing. Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust, told The New York Times, “We think the labor market is the strongest thing in the U.S. economy right now.”
Healthcare along with professional and business services led the charge with 49,000 and 37,000 respectively. Of professional and business services’ total, management and technical consulting services contributed 6,000 of the new jobs.
With jobless rates at historic lows, attracting capable and competitive talent forces employers to offer either full-time positions or higher wages. Or both. Plus perks. While wages increased (up 3.2 percent YOY), so did employer benefits. Julia Pollack, a labor economist with ZipRecruiter reported that in March, 34 percent of its job postings offered benefits, a 19 percent increase YOY. Higher wages provide workers greater purchasing power. “This means households and workers have pretty strong purchasing power and they can spend more at the mall,” Beth Ann Bovino, United States chief economist at S&P Global Ratings told The Times. Steady, incremental wage increases and resulting consumer spending could provide both ballast and buoyancy to the economy in the coming months.
BLS.gov cannot vouch for the data or analyses derived from these data after the data have been retrieved from BLS.gov.