The Unemployment Numbers Facade Continues.
Unemployment nationwide edged down to 8.2% in March from 8.3% in February, but the stagnant economy generated just 120,000 new jobs, which is by far the weakest showing in five months, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More workers, but less hours for those that are employed. The average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours in March. The manufacturing workweek fell by 0.3 hours to 40.7 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.4 hours.
This means workers aren’t making more money, and therefore cannot spend what they do not make.. In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents, or 0.2%, to $23.39. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.1%.
There were 12.7 million unemployed people nationwide in March. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 5.3 million in March. Those people accounted for 42.5% of the unemployed.
Private-sector jobs gains were strongest in manufacturing (+37,000 jobs), leisure and hospitality (+37,000 jobs), professional and business services (+31,000 jobs) and health care (+26,000 jobs.)
The weakest sector was retail trade, where employment fell by 34,000 in March.
In March, 2.4 million people were considered “marginally attached” to the labor force, a figure essentially unchanged from a year ago. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey. So what does all this mean? What is means in reality is that true unemployment remains in the 23% range.
The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.