APRIL 4, 2022 – MARCH JOBS REPORT COMES IN STRONG
Employers added 431,000 new jobs in March and hiring in January and February was stronger than originally reported. It is the 11th straight month of job gains above 400,000, the longest stretch of growth in records dating back to 1939. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in March from 3.8 percent in February. This is closing in on the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, a 50-year low. The low jobless rate is pushing wages higher, but not enough to keep pace with the record levels of inflation we are experiencing now. Average hourly wages grew 5.6 percent in March from a year earlier.
More individuals are reentering the workforce, though the economy still has 1.6 million less jobs than before March 2020. Rising prices are forcing some people back to work that have thus far remained on the sidelines, like retirees. In manufacturing, production levels are nearing normal which should ease up supply chain issues.
This strong employment report will keep the Fed to its promises of raising rates in the coming months to curtail inflation. Many are expecting the Fed to lift rates by 0.5 percent at their May 3-4 meeting.