BLS: 7.8 Million Americans Unemployed Last Month

According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of those unemployed in the United States increased by 434,000 to 7.8 million last month--1.1 million more people than were unemployed in the same month last year. BLS says the unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent in March, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend down (-80,000). Over the past 3 months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000. In March, employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and employment services, while health care, food services, and mining added jobs. Average hourly earnings rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, over the month.

Manufacturing employment fell by 48,000 in March and by 310,000 over the past12 months. Employment in motor vehicles and parts was down by 24,000 over the month, which BLS says largely reflects the impact of a strike in auto parts manufacturing. The strike resulted in a parts shortage that led to plant shutdowns elsewhere in the auto industry. During the 12 months ending in February, the motor vehicle and parts industry lost an average of 6,000 jobs per month.

In March, factory employment also fell in several construction-related industries, including wood products (-5,000), nonmetallic mineral products (-5,000), and furniture and related products (-5,000). Plastics and rubber products and textile mills also lost jobs over the month. Professional and business services employment edged down in March (-35,000). For the month, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours, seasonally adjusted.

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