215,000 Jobs Added to the Economy in March

Posted: Mar 31  |  By: Parker + Lynch

The Latest Numbers From the BLS Employment Situation Report

An employment summary based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) February 2016 monthly jobs report.

March’s job report numbers typically come in close to 45,000 lower than economists’ predictions, but this morning’s report was a bit of a surprise. Just over 200k jobs were expected to be added in the last month, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 215,000 jobs were added. This could calm jittery investors and help reassure the Federal Reserve, which is currently weighing further interest rate hikes.

In February, the Fed had their eye on jobs additions, wages and the unemployment rate to aid in their decision to raise interest rates. This month’s report is much the same with these same numbers weighing heavily with the Fed and impacting their decision. Let’s take a look:

  • Wages:
    • $25.43 March
    • $23.35 February
      • + 7 cents month-over-month
      • +2.3% year-over-year
  • Unemployment:
    • 5.0% March
    • 4.9% February
      • +0.1% month-over-month
      • -0.5 year-over-year

In March, hourly wages rose $0.7 to $25.43 per hour, bringing the year-over-year wage percentage increase to 2.3%. The unemployment rate now sits at 5.0%. While this is up slightly (+0.1%) from last month, the rate has remained constant much like rates in 2008. So what does this mean for the industries we support? Our in-depth analysis is below:

In-Depth Look: Our Industries

The professional and business services sector added 9,000 new jobs month-over month. While this number is significantly less than previous months, industry experts say this will not be an ongoing trend. They point to 2015’s performance that saw 2.65 million new jobs added, the second best year in terms of employment gains since 1999.

Here’s how our industries’ employment is shaping up:

  • Financial activities:
    • Month-over-month change: +15,000
    •  Year-over-year change: +145,000
  • Finance and Insurance:
    • Month-over-month change: +15,100
    • Year-over-year change: +112,700
  • Accounting and bookkeeping services:
    • Month-over-month change: +500 jobs
    • Year-over-year change: +40,400
  • Legal Services
    • Month-over-month change: +1,200
    • Year-over-year change: +8,200
    • Previous Months:
      • February: -1,500
      • January: -1,100
      • December:+1,200

Right now the unemployment rate for financial services sits at 3.0%. This is a substantial drop from the month prior (-0.6) which is great news for finance professionals.

For companies hoping to hire legal and finance professionals, the market remains extremely competitive. You’ll want to establish yourself as a premier employer to beat out your competitors and hire the right professionals. Making sure to offer the right salary and benefits is the first step in establishing yourself in the marketplace. Request a free copy of our 2016 Salary Guide – a comprehensive resource for salaries across the industry – to get the latest salary insights that will help you hire the industries top professionals.