U.S. labor snapshot: Payrolls up, jobless rate steady

While U.S. payrolls grew an estimated 533,000 during the first quarter, the pace of hiring remains slightly below the average for the past year.

The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 6.7 percent.

According to the latest statistical snapshot from the Department of Labor, nonfarm payrolls grew 192,000 in March. Moreover, initial estimates for job growth in February and January were revised upward a total of 37,000 to a combined 341,000.

The new numbers bring total payroll gains during the first quarter to 533,000, a monthly average of nearly 178,000. That’s still below the average monthly increase of 183,000 over the previous year.

The jobless rate held steady at 6.7 percent in March, a tenth of a point higher than what had been the lowest reading in more than five years.

The number of people counted among the long-term unemployed who’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or longer was little changed at 3.7 million.

The number of people counted among those working part-time for economic reasons was little changed at 7.4 million.

Payroll gains for March were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Professional and business services added 57,000 jobs, while food service and drinking places added 30,000 positions. Payrolls increased 19,000 each in the construction and health care sectors.

Employment in mining and logging rose 7,000.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose two-tenths of an hour to 34.5 hours in March. The average manufacturing workweek rose three-tenths of an hour to 41.1 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged down a penny to $24.30. Over the past year, though, average hourly earnings have increased 49 cents, or 2.1 percent.