98,000 Jobs Added to the Economy in March

Posted: Apr 07  |  By: Parker + Lynch

The Latest From the BLS Employment Report:

The third jobs report of 2017 showed that the economy continues to trend positively. The Labor Department reports that 98,000 jobs were added in March. The unemployment rate dropped to noticeable 4.5 percent, down .2 percent from last month.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down from 238,000 to 216,000. The numbers for February were revised down from 235,000 to 219,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 38,000 less than previously reported. Job gains have averaged 178,000 over the past three months.

With the unemployment rate at a new post-crisis low, and the rise in wages of 0.2 percent over last month and 2.7 percent over the prior year, this jobs report is solid. The broader underemployment rate, which reflects not only those out of work but those working part-time that would prefer full-time work, fell to 8.9 percent after hitting 9.2 percent in February, which also marks a new post-crisis low.

Economists’ predictions

Economists predicted 180,000 additions ahead of this morning’s jobs report and the report fell short of expectations with 98,000 jobs added. While the actual number of jobs added was lower than the predicted number of 180,000, the dip in the unemployment rate is encouraging.

jobs report march 2017

This Month’s Jobs Report

Let’s break down the numbers from this month’s jobs report.

In March, hourly wages increased by $.05 to $26.14 per hour, following a 7-cent increase in February. This brings the year-over-year wage percent age increase to 2.7 percent. The unemployment rate saw a decrease to 4.5 percent, representing 326,000 person dip in unemployment.


  • $26.14 March
    • +$0.05 month-over-month
  • $26.09 February


  • 4.5% March
    • -0.2% month-over-month
  • 4.7% February

What does this mean for the accounting and finance industry? The legal industry? Our in-depth analysis is below:

In-Depth Look: Accounting, Finance, and Legal Jobs

Let’s take a look at how the Accounting and Finance industry is performing. Overall, industry subsectors saw job additions month-over-month. Here are some of the highlights:

Financial activities:

  • Month-over-month change: +9,000
  • Year-over-year change: +178,000

Finance and Insurance:

  • Month-over-month change: +7,800
  • Year-over-year change: +112,400

Accounting and bookkeeping services:

  • Month-over-month change: +1,200
  • Year-over-year change: +26,300

Legal Services

  • Month-over-month change: -1,500
  • Year-over-year change: +2,200

The unemployment rate for financial activities now sits at 2.3 percent, which is an impressive 1.1 percent decrease from last month. This average sits far lower than the national average.

While the low unemployment rate is great news for legal and accounting and finance job seekers, for employers, it means that hiring top talent is going to be challenging. To get ahead of your competitors and add exceptional professionals to your workforce, make sure you are offering a competitive salary.  Request a free copy of our 2017 Legal or Accounting and Finance Salary Guide — a comprehensive resource for salaries across your industry — to get the latest salary insights that will help you hire the top professionals in your industry.