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Slow going but still growing: March 2014 jobs report

Though there was an increase in total jobs, the March 2014 unemployment rate remained stagnant.
Though there was an increase in total jobs, the March 2014 unemployment rate remained stagnant.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered its monthly Employment Situation Report (better known as the jobs report) this morning and the news was good. Good, but not great. The March 2014 jobs report showed employers adding a total of 192,000 jobs. The bulk of the new jobs were added in the professional/business services, healthcare, and mining/logging fields, while the manufacturing, construction, food service, and government sectors all had little to no change.

This certainly isn't bad news, but it doesn't speak to any big positive changes over the coming year. Despite the nearly 200,000 new jobs added in March, the unemployment rate remained steady. The unemployment rate was unchanged from last month at 6.7%. The report stated that this figure has "shown little movement since December 2013." The growth has been slowing down, which worries some economists, but has not shown signs of decreasing.

Interestingly, the unemployment rate increased and decreased for women and men respectively, bringing each group up to an equal 6.2%.

Job seekers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the jobs report has shown an uptick in the total number of jobs for at least another month, but the March report wasn't exactly glowing on all accounts. One point to watch was the average hourly earnings, which dipped slightly by one cent in March. However, the penny decrease is offset by the 9 cent increase from the previous month. The report did note that, since March 2013, the jobs report has shown a raise in hourly earning of 49 cents, or 2.1%.

Hopefully April's jobs report will show a continuing trend of growth, but it's likely that estimates will remain on the conservative side in light of the minimal growth reported this month. Still, as long as that number continues edging upwards, and at the very least doesn't dip, economic recovery can continue, slowly but surely. While America is not back at the pre-2008 unemployment rate of 5%, it's important to remember that it's also not at the staggering 9.9% unemployment rate ceiling hit in 2009.