Employment Figures Show Gain of 162,000 Jobs in March

 
 
By Don E. Sears  |  Posted 2010-04-02
 
 
 

There was a bump of 162,000 new, non-farm jobs in March and the unemployment rate was held unchanged at 9.7 percent, according to monthly employment numbers released April 2 by the U.S. Department of Labor. Factors at play included growth in construction, manufacturing, health care, temporary job expansion and government-backed jobs from the 2011 census.

Technology workers, generally categorized under "Computer Systems & Design," saw 5,800 jobs lost between February and March, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over a three-month period ending in March, net gains in this computer systems category were positive with 4,200 new jobs. Similarly, the preliminary figures for one-year net gains are positive at 9,500 new jobs.

Financial and insurance industries led the pack in layoffs by shedding 21,000 jobs for the month, as did information industries, including media, publishing and broadcast companies, and telecommunications, which saw a loss of 12,000.

"The job growth this month is an encouraging sign, but we still have more work to do," Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement. "Fifteen million Americans are still unemployed, and 6.5 million have been looking for work for more than six months. That is why it is important Congress pass continuations of COBRA health coverage and unemployment benefits. While we are encouraged to see continued growth in the temporary help services sector, the manufacturing sector has seen modest job growth over the last three months. And employment in health care and education sectors continued to increase."

Despite an air of positivity from government officials, long-term unemployment is still very much an issue. March saw an increase of 414,000 workers claiming unemployment benefits for 27 weeks or more.

A bright spot to some economists is the rise in the temporary job market, a sign many use to gauge the beginnings of new hiring. Temporary jobs have increased by 313,000 since September 2009 with over 40,000 in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And Bloomberg News reported:

"Employment of temporary workers, which are considered a harbinger of permanent hiring, climbed in March for a sixth consecutive month. Their share in the payroll count is diminishing, showing companies are becoming more optimistic, said Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York. 'The quality of jobs is improving, and it is a clear sign of improving CEO confidence,' Low said in a note to clients. 'Cautious CEOs hire temps, optimists make permanent hires.'"

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