US and Europe

US employment growing slowly in March 2013

Monday April 15, 2013 Hugh Dixon

While employment rose in March 2013, it was the smallest increase in monthly employment since June 2012, according to the released data on the US’s employment and unemployment for the March 2013 month by the United States of America’s (US) Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) The average monthly increase over the year to March 2013 was 159,000.


In the month of March 2013, America’s non-farm employment increased by 88,000 to 135.2 million. This monthly increase was significantly impacted by a 51,000 increase in employment in the professional and business services sector.  According to the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the US needs to increase employment by 1,050,000 jobs a year, or around 90,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the current growth in the US population.  In the year to March 2013, the US economy added an average of 159,000 jobs a month or a total of 1.9 million jobs in the year.  This means that over the last year, the US economy has added close to twice as many jobs to the economy as needed to match the growth in the population.


Combined with this growth in jobs, the BLS reported that in March 2013, the number of underemployed fell by 350,000 to 7.6 million.  Underemployed are those individuals that are working part-time because their hours have been cut back or they weren’t able to find full-time work.   This is good news as underemployment can distort the employment picture as it looks at the total number of people with a job, not if that job is full time or part-time.


In the month of March 2013, America’s monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.6 percent, from 7.7 percent in February 2013.  Over the year from March 2012, the unemployment rate has dropped from 8.2 percent to the current 7.6 percent.


This fall in March’s unemployment has occurred due to a drop in those defined as unemployed, and at the same time a rise the number of people not in the labour force.


While overall unemployment was down, there was little change in the number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or more) in March 2013, with numbers holding at 4.6 million.  Long term unemployment represents 40 percent of the total number of unemployed.  Long term unemployed face more difficulties in finding work, when compared to those unemployed for shorter periods.