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BLS Report – March 2022

Payroll Employment Rises by 431,000 in March; Unemployment Rate Declines to 3.6

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.6 percent in March, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 318,000 to 6.0 million. These measures are little different from their values in February 2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively), prior to the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 431,000 in March, as job gains continued in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing. Overall, job growth averaged 562,000 per month in the first quarter of 2022, the same as the average monthly gain for 2021. However, employment is down by 1.6 million, or 1.0 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (3.3 percent) declined in March. The jobless rates for adult men (3.4 percent), teenagers (10.0 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (6.2 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers decreased by 191,000 to 1.4 million in March and is little different from its February 2020 level of 1.3 million. The number of persons on temporary layoff was little changed over the month at 787,000 and has essentially returned to its February 2020 level. The number of job leavers—that is, unemployed persons who quit or voluntarily
left their previous job and began looking for new employment—fell by 176,000 to 787,000 in March.

In March, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 274,000 to 1.4 million. This measure is 307,000 higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 23.9 percent of all unemployed persons in March.

The labor force participation rate, at 62.4 percent, changed little in March. The employment population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage point to 60.1 percent. Both measures remain below their February 2020 values (63.4 percent and 61.2 percent, respectively).

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was about unchanged at 4.2 million in March and is little different from its February 2020 level. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job increased by 382,000 to 5.7 million in March, following a decrease of a similar magnitude in the prior month. This measure is above its February 2020 level of 5.0 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.


  • Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to increase, with a gain of 112,000 in March. Jobgrowth occurred in food services and drinking places (+61,000) and accommodation (+25,000).Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.5 million, or 8.7 percent, since February 2020.
  • Job growth continued in professional and business services, which added 102,000 jobs in March. Within the industry, job gains occurred in services to buildings and dwellings (+22,000), accounting and bookkeeping services (+18,000), management and technical consulting services (+15,000), computer systems design and related services (+12,000), and scientific research and development services(+5,000). Employment in professional and business services is 723,000 higher than in February 2020.
  • Employment in retail trade increased by 49,000 in March, with gains in general merchandise stores(+20,000) and food and beverage stores (+18,000). Health and personal care stores lost 5,000 jobs. Retail trade employment is 278,000 above its level in February 2020.
  • Manufacturing added 38,000 jobs in March. Employment in durable goods industries rose by 22,000,with gains in transportation equipment (+11,000) and electrical equipment and appliances (+4,000).These gains were partially offset by a loss of 5,000 jobs in nonmetallic mineral products. Nondurable goods manufacturing added 16,000 jobs over the month, including a gain in chemicals (+7,000). Since February 2020, manufacturing employment is down by 128,000, or 1.0 percent.
  • Employment in social assistance increased by 25,000 in March, with the gain concentrated in individual and family services (+18,000). Employment in social assistance is down by 126,000, or 2.9 percent from its level in February 2020.
  • Employment in construction continued to trend up in March (+19,000) and has returned to its February2020 level.
  • In March, employment in financial activities rose by 16,000, with gains in real estate and rental and leasing (+14,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000). Employment in financial activities is 41,000 above its level in February 2020.
  • Health care employment changed little in March (+8,000), after a large increase in the prior month. Employment in the industry is down by 298,000, or 1.8 percent, since February 2020.
  • Employment in transportation and warehousing was essentially unchanged in March (-1,000), following large gains in the prior 2 months. In March, a job gain in couriers and messengers (+7,000)was offset by small losses in other component industries. Employment in transportation and warehousing is 608,000 higher than in February 2020.
  • Employment showed little change over the month in mining, wholesale trade, information, other services, and government.


Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics, THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — March 2022