Number of unemployed rises by 1.4 million in March; jobless rate jumps to 4.4%

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 233 views 

The U.S. jobless rate rose to 4.4% in March from 3.5% in February, with the number of unemployed rising by 1.4 million, according to new data reported Friday (April 3) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The March rise was the largest monthly increase in the rate since January 1975.

The jobless rate was also higher than the 3.8% in March 2019.

The number of employed in March was 162.913 million, below the 162.546 million in February and below the 162.935 million in March 2019. The number of unemployed in March was 7.14 million, above the 5.787 million in February and above the 6.194 million in March 2019.

The BLS report said the March numbers include the first sign of economic disruption related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“March data from the establishment and household surveys broadly reflect some of the early effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market. We cannot precisely quantify the effects of the pandemic on the job market in March” BLS noted in the report. “However, it is clear that the decrease in employment and hours and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus. It is important to keep in mind that the March survey reference periods for both surveys predated many coronavirus-related business and school closures in the second half of the month.”

The number of unemployed persons who reported being on temporary layoff more than doubled in March to 1.8 million. The number of permanent job losers increased by 177,000 to 1.5 million. Unemployment rates rose in March among all major worker groups. The rate was 4% for adult men, 4% for adult women, 14.3% for teenagers, 4% for Whites, 6% for Blacks, 4.1% for Asians, and 6% for Hispanics.

Following are March job numbers by sector.

• Trade, Transportation & Utilities
March 2020: 27.781 million
March 2019: 27.358 million

• Education & Health Services
March 2020: 24.523 million
March 2019: 24.113 million

• Government
March 2020: 22.759 million
March 2019: 22.886 million

• Professional & Business Services
March 2020: 21.507 million
March 2019: 20.908 million

• Leisure & Hospitality
March 2020: 16.393 million
March 2019: 16.09 million

• Retail
March 2020: 15.624 million
March 2019: 15.425 million

• Manufacturing
March 2020: 12.389 million
March 2019: 12.774 million

• Durable Goods manufacturing
March 2020: 8.056 million
March 2019: 8.039 million

• Non-Durable Goods manufacturing
March 2020: 4.783 million
March 2019: 4.735 million

• Construction
March 2020: 7.605 million
March 2019: 7.17 million