Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment stays stable: CEI analysis

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The Labor Department’s March jobs report show 303,000 jobs were added last month, with unemployment staying steady at 3.8 percent. Employers show that they are eager for workers, but there is still room for growth in labor force participation. 

CEI Research Fellow Sean Higgins:

“The Labor Department’s report that 303,000 jobs were added in March also included the news that January and February’s gains had been revised upward by a combined 22,000 jobs. Clearly, employers are still hungry for workers, bumping up pay another 12 cents in March to entice them.

“The employment situation has been remarkably stable for the last year, the official employment rate having hovered between 3.7 and 3.9 percent since August. Employers have been in the same situation of looking for workers and not being able to find enough of them for years now and have reached the limits in what they can offer through higher pay or by using automation to circumvent the problem. Yet month after month the labor force participation rate barely budges. A chronic shortage of workers may be the new economic reality.”

CEI Senior Economist Ryan Young:

“At some point, labor force growth will slow, even if the labor market remains hot, and this will not be a cause for alarm. The economy is already close to full employment, and March’s 303,000-job growth is more than double population growth.

“Labor force participation, at 62.7 percent, is roughly where it was for the five years before COVID, though it is still low in historical terms, so there is room for growth there. With 1.4 job openings for each available worker to choose from, immigration can also help fill some of those remaining jobs.

“This good news, plus continued solid GDP growth, means that the Federal Reserve has already achieved a soft landing. It should remain focused on containing inflation, rather than giving into politicians urging more stimulus to aid their reelection campaigns.”