March jobs report surpasses projections, wage growth lags behind

Another month, another jobs report. Analysts' projections were rendered false as March came and went - but not before nearly 215,000 Americans gained

Another month, another jobs report. Analysts' projections were rendered false as March came and went - but not before nearly 215,000 Americans gained employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That mark beat general projections by around 16,000, according to CNNMoney. "Our clients were consistently hiring across all of our specialty areas in March and throughout the first quarter," remarked Charlie Cain, Managing Director of Beacon Hill's Associates Division. "There has been consistent demand in nearly every industry for candidates with proven experience and valuable skills."

What the jobs report reveals about the employment situation
This jobs report was rather telling about the current economic and employment situation in the U.S. Vast growth in certain sectors seems to be dwarfing month-over-month losses in industries like manufacturing and mining. The unemployment rate also jumped 0.1 percent to bring it back to 5 percent, according to CNNMoney. This is normally thought of as a sign of a healthy economy, but it could also point to either one of two situations.

The first scenario is that more eligible workers are entering the job market - a likely story, but statistics tell another. CNNMoney reported underemployment has been higher than expected for some time now, sitting currently at 9.8 percent - nearly 2 percent higher than pre-recession levels. Underemployment rate is the combination of those both unemployed and employed persons looking for a better job.

Job growth continued in March to the tune of 215,000 newly employed workers.

"The trend in the underemployment rate has been coming down sharply but it's still high," Phil Orlando, chief U.S. economist at Federated Investors, told CNNMoney.

Despite adding hundreds of thousands of new jobs each month, average wages only grew by $0.07 from February to March to $25.43, according to CBS Money Watch. While the growth is small, January to February featured a $0.02 decline.

The modest average wage gains the economy is experiencing means different things for different job seekers, though. "Talented and experienced candidates are highly valued, are aware of market conditions, and typically have multiple options available to them," says Mr. Cain. "So while overall wage growth is flat or even down in some areas, the competition for premium talent has allowed for meaningful wage growth at the top of the candidate market."

On the other hand, candidates with less experience seeking entry-level positions may also be in a position to take advantage of market conditions. Mr. Cain believes this to be the result of the demands being placed on growing organizations. "Companies have to hire in order to meet the market demands of their customers, so while companies are universally competing for highly qualified and highly productive talent, waiting to find the precisely ideal candidate is usually untenable. Work needs to get done – therefore, employers seek contractors and employees who may be less experienced, have incomplete skills, but have the requisite cultural fit."

Industry by industry
The largest increases in employment were found in health care, retail and construction, while mining and manufacturing yet again suffered another month in decline. Since 2014, nearly 185,000 jobs have been lost in the mining sector.

  • Retail trade continues to climb and served as the top-performing industry in terms of job growth in March. According to the BLS, 48,000 found jobs in the sector and 12,000 of them came from general merchandise stores. In the last year the market has grown by 378,000.
  • Construction continued its upward trajectory by employing 37,000 in March. Nearly 11,000 came from civil engineering jobs and over the past 12 months the industry has hired 301,000.
  • The health care industry added 37,000, including 27,000 in ambulatory health care services alone. Those who follow the jobs report month-to-month have become familiar with this type of growth, as the industry has created 503,000 new jobs in the past year.
  • Food services and drinking places saw an uptick in hiring, growing by 25,000 last month.
  • Financial activities experienced a subtle bump in growth, creating 15,000 new job opportunities.
  • Despite adding nearly 50,000 jobs on average per month in 2015, professional and business services changed very little last month. There was also little change in transportation and warehousing, as well as government services.
  • The mining industry continued its free fall, losing 12,000 jobs last month.
  • Manufacturing employment declined by 29,000, with 24,000 of those jobs lost coming from the durable goods sector.

The success experienced in March shows that despite less-than-stellar stock and oil prices, the economy continues to chug along. Now is the perfect time to find a job, and seekers shouldn't hesitate to dive right in.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.