Hiring in the U.S. rose more than forecast and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped, giving the economy a spark as it struggles to overcome slumps in housing and manufacturing.
The 180,000 increase in employment followed a 113,000 gain in February that was larger than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The jobless rate fell to 4.4 percent, matching October's five-year low.
New jobs and bigger paychecks are giving more Americans the means to spend, preventing the housing recession from spreading to the rest of the economy. The drop in the jobless rate may concern Federal Reserve policy makers who've said the threat of inflation is a bigger risk for the expansion.
Here's a link to the report
First, The BLS revised February's number up. This has been a standard pattern for this expansion. The BLS added 800,000 or so jobs in an annual revision a few months ago.
Now, the internals are pretty solid.
Construction jobs increased 56,000. The means all the construction workers laid-off in January were essentially rehired. My guess is non-residential construction is doing most of the hiring at this point.
Oddly, professional services lost 7,000. That area of job growth has been pretty consistent for most of this expansion.
Education and health added 54,000 and leisure/hospitality added 21,000. The health area employment has been solid for the last 4 years as has leisure and hospitality.
Average hourly earnings increase 6 cents, and hours worked increased .1 hours.
This is a good report.