Payroll employment increased by 211,000 in March, and unemployment fell slightly to 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of
the U.S. Department of Labor reported.
The gain in March followed an increase of 225,000 in February (as revised).
Employment in professional and business services increased by 52,000 over the month. Over the year, employment in professional and business services was up by 469,000.
Leisure and hospitality employment rose by 42,000 in March. Retail trade employment increased by 29,000, with most of the growth occurring in general merchandise stores (26,000). Employment in wholesale trade continued its upward trend and has risen by 232,000 since its most recent low in August 2003.
Health care added 24,000 jobs in March; over the year, employment in the industry has risen by 293,000.
Meanwhile, the average workweek for production or nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls was unchanged at 33.8 hours in March, seasonally adjusted.
Average hourly earnings of production or nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls increased by 3 cents in March to $16.49, seasonally adjusted. This followed gains of 5 cents and 6 cents in January and February, respectively. Average weekly earnings increased by 0.2 percent over the month to $557.36. Over the year, average hourly earnings increased by 3.4 percent and average weekly earnings increased by 3.7 percent.