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April 04, 2008
Employers Trim Payrolls Again

The unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent in March, and payroll employment dipped by 80,000 jobs, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Over the past 3 months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000. In March, employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and employment services, while health care, food services, and mining added jobs.

  • Employment in construction declined by 51,000 in March and has fallen by 394,000 since its peak in September 2006. Most of the March decrease in employment occurred among specialty trade contractors (-42,000), with both residential and nonresidential contractors contributing to the decline.
  • Manufacturing employment fell by 48,000 in March and by 310,000 over the past 12 months.
  • Professional and business services employment edged down in March (-35,000).

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers rose by 5 cents in March, or 0.3 percent, to $17.86, seasonally adjusted. This followed gains of 5 cents in January and 6 cents in February. Average weekly earnings rose by 0.6 percent in March to $603.67. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.6 percent and average weekly earnings rose by 3.3 percent.

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