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CSpec

US Employers Ramp up Hiring in March, Unemployment at 5-Year Low

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WASHINGTON - Employers ramped up hiring in March, driving the unemployment rate down to 4.4 percent, matching a five-year low. It was a surprisingly strong performance in an economy that has otherwise shown signs of sluggishness recently.

The new snapshot, released by the Labor Department on Friday, also showed that employers boosted their payrolls by a strong 180,000 in March, the most since December. Workers’ also saw their paychecks get bigger. The fresh figures suggested that companies are not feeling a need to dramatically clamp down on hiring in the face of the slower overall economic activity and the deep housing slump.

“There’s been worry that housing troubles would seep into the rest of the economy and hurt jobs but that is not happening now,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services. “This says employers are finding that they need people and when they need people they hire them. These are good, healthy numbers,” he said.

The report was stronger than economists were expecting. They were calling for the economy to add around 135,000 new jobs in March, and for the unemployment rate to actually edge up to 4.6 percent.

The 4.4 percent unemployment rate, which dropped down a notch from 4.5 percent in February, matched the rate in October, which was the lowest in five years.

Jobs gains in March were fairly widespread, except for the struggling manufacturing sector, which continued to shed jobs for the ninth month in a row; factories cut 16,000 in March alone. Some business services also trimmed jobs, by 7,000 last month.

Construction companies, after suffering heavy job losses in February in part due to lousy winter weather, bulked up in March. They added 56,000 positions last month, the most in just over a year. Retailers added nearly 36,000 jobs last month. Education and health care services expanded employment by 54,000. Leisure and hospitality picked up 21,000 new jobs, while the government added 23,000.

“I think the American people — our workers, our companies, small businesses, entrepreneurs — should feel very proud of these results. These numbers show we are competing successfully in a very competitive global economy,” Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Asked about the weakness in factory employment, Gutierrez said: “Any job lost is painful. ...We need to stay focused on job training and preparing ourselves” for an even more competitive climate in the future.

Adding to the positive showing, job gains in January and February turned out to be stronger than previously reported. The economy added 113,000 positions in February, up from a prior estimate of just 97,000, which had marked the slowest job growth in two years. In January 162,000 new jobs were created, better than the 146,000 previously reported.

Workers’ wages grew modestly.

Average hourly earnings rose to $17.22 in March, a 0.3 percent increase from February. That matched economists’ expectations. Over the last 12 months, wages grew by 4 percent.

Solid wage growth is good for workers and supports consumer spending, which is indispensable to the economy’s good health. But a rapid pickup — if prolonged and not blunted by other economic forces — can raise fears about inflation.

Spiraling inflation would whittle away any wage gains, hurting workers’ wallets. It isn’t good for the economy, either.

One of the things the Federal Reserve is keeping close tabs on is inflation. Another is business investment, which has been weak. Those economic crosscurrents complicate the Fed’s job of keeping the economy and inflation on an even keel.

The Fed’s key interest rate hasn’t moved since August. Before that, the Fed was steadily raising rates for two years to fend off inflation.

The new figures comes as President Bush continues to cope with a lackluster job-approval rating of 35 percent from the American public, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. On the economy, the just 38 percent approve of the president’s economic stewardship, while 60 percent disapprove, the poll shows.

Tapping into that discontent, Democrats are championing policies to close the gap between low- and high-income workers, make it easier for workers to form unions against company wishes and taking a harder stance with respect to the Bush administration’s free-trade deals.

Beyond March’s employment report, there were some challenges for jobseekers, however. For one thing, the job hunt got longer.

The average time that the 6.7 million unemployed people spent in their job searches was 17.3 weeks in March, compared with 16.4 weeks in February.

Economists predict the economy will remain in a sluggish spell in the months ahead. For the recently ended January-to-March quarter, some analysts are predicting growth will clock in at close to 2 percent, which would represent a further slowing from the 2.5 percent growth rate logged in the final three months of last year.

As the economy slows, the unemployment rate also is expected to creep up, reaching close to 5 percent by the end of the year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke believes the economy is working its way through a soft patch and won’t fall into a recession this year. However, former Fed chief Alan Greenspan has put the odds of the economy sliding into a recession this year at one-in-three.

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Complainers = :pokeowned::pokeowned::pokeowned::pokeowned:

Canada's unemployment levels are at historically low levels. In some parts of my country, McDonalds workers are making upwards of $18.00 and hour because there are not enough people to fill positions.

Edited by Captainbooyah
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well thats good news for the rest of the US.

I have 2 jobs.

My second job I received a 15% pay cut.

My primary one had to cut 10 jobs and we all received 20% pay cuts and No overtime allowed.

Funny thing is they are both those High paying unions everyone talks about.

And the list of people I know that have been laid off or cut, keeps growing.

And i read in the paper that Ohio is in horrible shape too.

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Tell the low employment rate to Detroit. Also, working at McDonald's doesn't count...even though that's probably what they are counting as "employers" They always hire...but you can't make a living off that.

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Canada's unemployment levels are at historically low levels. In some parts of my country, McDonalds workers are making upwards of $18.00 and hour because there are not enough people to fill positions.

That's US$15.64 for us American types [source]. But still. That's a helluva lot more than they paid me to work at McDonald's.

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That's US$15.64 for us American types [source]. But still. That's a helluva lot more than they paid me to work at McDonald's.

Just do a little Google searching on Alberta, and you'll realize that the place is going insane.

Business' are closing up because there aren't enough people to work!

I live in the province next door, and I just had to walk in to get my job, and that was last year, and the economy has gotten even hotter. Friends of mine are just showing up at construction sites and getting hired.

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I lost my job last month. Not alone though, a few thousand other CompUSA employees also lost their job, including top-level management and department VPs.

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Jobs gains in March were fairly widespread, except for the struggling manufacturing sector, which continued to shed jobs for the ninth month in a row; factories cut 16,000 in March alone. Some business services also trimmed jobs, by 7,000 last month.

Construction companies, after suffering heavy job losses in February in part due to lousy winter weather, bulked up in March. They added 56,000 positions last month, the most in just over a year. Retailers added nearly 36,000 jobs last month. Education and health care services expanded employment by 54,000. Leisure and hospitality picked up 21,000 new jobs, while the government added 23,000.

Construction is about to take a huge hit as the housing market continues to implode.

The mortgage industry is already hurting with at least 50 mortgage lenders gone bust.

So government jobs added 23,000

Hospitals and schools added 54,000

Holiday Inn, Walmart, and Starbucks added 57,000....... :thumbsup:

Where are all the good paying tech jobs? Where are the good factory jobs for the people who can't get a college education?

Asia that's where.....

Where are the textile industry jobs? Mexico and S. America...

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Just saw this in that link I provided...

(Foreclosure sales now 15 percent of all home sales in California )

Nationwide, job losses in the category that includes mortgage lending, real estate and construction climbed 346% in the first quarter, to 21,245 from 4,764 in the same period last year.....

In California, the 3,679 mortgage industry jobs lost in the quarter pales compared with the 70,000 construction jobs that economists figure could disappear over the next two years. When considered individually, though, the loss of a higher-paying white-collar position can be more significant for the economy. "Each one of these finance jobs is worth at least two construction jobs,"

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If we don't end up in a recession in the next 12-18 months it'll be through a miracle of some sort. My bets are that the housing implosion is going to become a huge Presidential campaign issue.

Energy prices are going to hit us hard too. I work in both the Real Estate industry and Energy Industry and there are some extremely major shakeups going on that will effect the economy.

That little bru-ha-ha between Britan and Iran over the past 2 weeks caused oil to shoot up about $5.50 a barrel and once it was over it came down $2.50 a barrel. Someone sneezing the wrong direction over there can change the course of our economy over here. Nothing is certain.

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If we don't end up in a recession in the next 12-18 months it'll be through a miracle of some sort. My bets are that the housing implosion is going to become a huge Presidential campaign issue.

Energy prices are going to hit us hard too. I work in both the Real Estate industry and Energy Industry and there are some extremely major shakeups going on that will effect the economy.

That little bru-ha-ha between Britan and Iran over the past 2 weeks caused oil to shoot up about $5.50 a barrel and once it was over it came down $2.50 a barrel. Someone sneezing the wrong direction over there can change the course of our economy over here. Nothing is certain.

Don't you love how they can and will find any excuse to justify raising the oil prices? As if they weren't high enough. They aren't fooling anyone...they're in it solely for the profits. Pretty soon we'll have a headline like this:

"Light Bulb burns out at oil refinery...the damage from this blown bulb (which is located in the men's room) caused oil prices to skyrocket."

Edited by Dodgefan
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My father was laid off earlier this week. so, I could care less how many slightly-above-minimum wage jobs Starbucks added to economy.

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Cspec, it's pretty clear you've been :pokeowned:

Sorry.

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This has to do with the gas issue. I was talking with my mom, and she said that gas never use to fluctuate like is does now a days. She said it might go up a few cents over the course of six or so months, and then come back down. It's crazy that it can change a nickel, dime, even a quarter overnight.

Although, at $2.50 a gallon, we have it better than pretty much all of Europe.

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Cspec, it's pretty clear you've been :pokeowned:

Sorry.

Expound. Random personal experiences do not summarize a nation-wide economy.
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Just an aside:

I seem to do better personally when the economy is in the crapper, I have no idea why.

In boomtimes, I seem to be left out in the cold. :blink:

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Most of you are probably to young to remember how Regan changed how we mark our unemployment numbers. Those numbers you read about now days, are lower than 30 years ago, because he made it that way.

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I wish the unemployment rate was actually the number of people who qualify for gainful employment but are not gainfully employed instead of the percentage of people who are receiving unemployment benefits.

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CSpec,

You truly live in the world of talking points, don't you. You know all these numbers all completely flawed, right? These numbers to not take in the number of people who no longer get unemployment because they have been out of a real job so long, they ran out of benefits. Many of these are well-paid professionals that are trying to find a job that pays a fraction of what they were making AND benefits (it's easier to find a temp job that pays no benefits. And if you have never had to pay them outright for yourself, please don't talk. I've had, and you can't pay that and the mortgage too.)

Also it does not calculate the amount of UNDER-Employed people, which is the BIGGEST problem in the workforce today. Sure you may have found a job after getting laid off from your well paying tech job, or construction job, but you are now working a Lowes for a fraction of what you were making. Then you have to work a second job to make the bills. Well, according to GWB, who was quoted saying how wonderful it was that a woman with kids had the opportunity to have 3 jobs. FU Mr. Bush. That's not opportunity, that's sad necessity.

Then you have the nerve to taunt this talking point bull$h! when this coming week I have to deal with this at my company: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/repo...o&dist=yhoo

I have to sit and endure 15-20,000 layoffs this week and the job market looks great. FU is all I have to say. Do you think ANY of those jobs are going to be in any market than the US? You don't live in the real world. And the analysts weren't happy with it because they were hoping for 30,000 layoffs. Yeah, great... that will make the stock price jump, 30,000 people out of a good paying job.

Then you have this case at Circuit City where they up and layoff the highest paid workers so they can bring younger people in at a much cheaper price: http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/07/04/07/100bus_suit001.cfm

Not what I consider a great job market.

Before you start tell people in the real world, who have to work 2-3 jobs to keep their heads above water, who worry every time the stock price goes down they might lose their jobs, not some Bill-o mommy-and-daddy protected talking point regurgitator, think, because this is insensitive, close minded drivel.

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avant1963 :yes:

Cspec you have to understand to maintain a house, Car, and family you cant work at starbucks. Do you know how many miscellaneous bills come in every day? Until you buy a house i don't think you will understand. While going to school and college those jobs are fine but not at 42 years old.

Also You have to understand the idea of corruption. Kind of like the Kansas City shuffle. They make you look right and no one notices whats happening on the left. People are payed to lie to make America look good. they do this by stretching figures.

And How is Michigan not apart of this nation? Please explain while the bad areas of the US are exempt? Is it because people just look left whenever people in the bad states aren't doing good and then start to complain? Open yours eyes past media articles and politics. All they do is lie cheat and steal to get you to shift your paradigms.

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