The bureau's report includes several alternative calculations each month. U6 is best known. It encompasses not just Americans with no job, but also those working part time who want full-time positions—the underemployed who are called "part time for economic reason"—and workers who have looked for jobs in the past 12 months but not in the past four weeks. U6 rose from 12.6 percent in February to 12.7 percent in March. U6 does not tally people who have not looked for work in the past 12 months. These jobless are left out of the unemployment count even if they still want jobs but have despaired of finding one.
Full-time and part-time jobs are included in the total, and the bureau makes no monthly assessment of the quality of the jobs people are being hired for, although it does so in other reports.
The bureau revised its previously reported results for January from 129,000 to 144,000, and in February from 175,000 to 197,000. That brought the three-month average to 178,000. At that rate, according to the Hamilton Project's Job Gap calculator, it would take until November 2019 to return us to the pre-recession employment situation while absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.
A consensus experts surveyed by Bloomberg News before the report was released figured the economy created 206,000 jobs in March. To the civilian labor force were added 503,000 in March. That rise came after a rise of 264,000 in February and a 499,000 rise in January. The employment-population ratio rose to 58.9 percent. The labor force participation rate rose to 63.2 percent, the second consecutive 0.2 percent rise.
The number of long-term unemployed who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more, fell slightly to 3.7 million, 35.8 percent of all those accounted for who have no work.
The number of officially unemployed Americans remained steady at 10.5 million. But there are the millions of discouraged workers not included in that count because they have left the workforce.
The payroll services company Automatic Data Processing had reported on Wednesday a seasonally adjusted gain of 191,000 private-sector jobs for March. ADP does not report on public-sector jobs and its estimated growth figures, despite a change in methodology in 2012, frequently aren't a close match with the BLS private-job figures.
Among other news in the March job report:
Demographic breakdown of official (U3) seasonally adjusted jobless rate:
• African American: 12.4 percent
• Latino: 7.9 percent
• Asian (not seasonally adjusted): 5.4 percent
• American Indian (data not collected on monthly basis)
• White: 5.8 percent
• Adult women (20 and older): 6.2 percent
• Adult Men (20 and older): 6.2 percent
• Teenagers (16-19): 20.9 percent
Duration of unemployment:
• Less than five weeks: 2.46 million
• 5 to 14 weeks: 2.58 million
• 15 to 26 weeks: 1.68 million
• 27 weeks and more: 3.74 million
Job gains and losses in selected categories:
• Professional services: + 57,000
• Transportation and warehousing : + 7,900
• Leisure & hospitality: + 29,000
• Information: + 2,000
• Health care: + 27,000
• Retail trade: + 21,300
• Construction: + 19,000
• Manufacturing: - 1,000
• Average weekly manufacturing hours rose a strong 0.3 hours to 41.1 hours.
• Average work week for all employees on non-farm payrolls rose to 34.5 hours.
• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell 1 cent to $24.30.
• Average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees fell cents to $20.47.
Here's what the seasonally adjusted job growth numbers have looked like in March for the previous 10 years.
March 2004: + 332,000
March 2005: + 134,000
March 2006: + 280,000
March 2007: + 188,000
March 2008: - 80,000
March 2009: - 826,000
March 2010: + 156,000
March 2011: + 212,000
March 2012: + 243,000
March 2013: + 141,000
March 2014: + 192,000
The BLS jobs report is the product of a pair of surveys, one of more than 410,000 business establishments called Current Employment Statistics, and one called the Current Population Survey, which questions 60,000 householders each month. The establishment survey determines how many new jobs were added. It is always calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis determined by a frequently tweaked formula. The BLS report only provides a snapshot of what's happening at a single point in time.
It's important to understand that the jobs-created-last-month-numbers that it reports are not "real." Not because of a conspiracy, but because statisticians apply formulas to the raw data, estimate the number of jobs created by the "birth" and "death" of businesses, and use other filters to fine-tune the numbers. And, always good to remember, in the fine print, they tell us that the actual number of newly created jobs reported is actually plus or minus 100,000.