Strong job gains in March—especially in retail and food service—will keep the outlook steady for household spending, according to the latest U.S. jobs numbers.
The job count increased by 215,000 in March. Five of the last six months have now registered strong job gains averaging well above 200,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate edged insignificantly higher to 5.0%.
The job weakness remains focused in goods-related jobs, especially durable goods manufacturing in March. Energy-related jobs remain an ongoing weak spot. Strong growth in construction jobs continue to be an exception among goods industries.
See the table summary for more detail.
The energy-related job declines are a reminder that the mid-section of the country remains most vulnerable to weakness in spending among households. For more on these regional threats, see the last look at state and local job trends at this link.
The best prospects by industry are currently in construction (especially specialty trades), health care, retail, and restaurants/food service. Prospects also remain good in various professional and business fields.
See the @Home post at this link for more about job prospects by metro market.
Impact @Work: Although the overall jobs numbers suggest sustained growth, they do not translate into better prospects for all businesses. Weakness is increasingly concentrated in energy-dependent places in the Mid-West, while strength is emerging in the West and Southeast.
For more on the job trends—and the overall outlook going forward, see the Premium Insights below.
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