Each month experts, news outlets and every day Americans take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report. For months on end it seemed as though our job market was slowly but surely gaining some ground. March, however, showed a disappointing pause in improvement. According to the report, employers added 120,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped a tiny amount to 8.2 percent. Unfortunately, as you can tell from the statistics, the hiring rate slowed down significantly in the month of March.
Back in February, there was a total of 240,000 jobs added to the market. With over a 100,000 drop in added jobs, it’s clear we are not making the improvements necessary for a recovered market. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, was quoted in CBS saying, “It’s discouraging that job growth was half of what it had been the previous month.” It’s likely that most of the country will agree with that statement. According to Owens, adding such a small amount of jobs to the market is creating just enough to keep up with the population growth. In other words, she says it is like treading water. Essentially, we are standing still and making no progress.
The unemployment rate may have dropped slightly, but experts say that the drop is mostly due to women leaving the job market, meaning they have stopped looking for jobs. This makes sense seeing as though the recession recovery has been dubbed the “mancovery.” With the construction and manufacturing industries picking up speed, men are finding it significantly easier to find the jobs they need. On the other hand, women are beginning to wonder when their “ladycovery” will begin.
Furthermore, economists attributed the increase in hiring during the months of January and February to an abnormally warm winter across the country. Since the Labor Department accounts for these seasonal trends, the numbers for those months may have been a bit distorted and misleading. The CBS article notes how retail was the industry to see the biggest loss with 33,800 jobs lost. However, true to form over the past months, manufacturing created 37,000 jobs and health care added 26,000 jobs. Most interesting though was the 1,000 jobs cut by the government, showing a slow down in lay-offs, while the private sector added 121,000 jobs.
Obama addressed the report and was quoted saying, “it’s clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way and that we got a lot more work to do, and that includes addressing challenges that are unique to women’s economic security.” The current unemployment level at 8.2 percent is the lowest we have seen since Obama has been in office.