Spring is finally here. The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.7 percent, according to new data released Friday morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This comes on the heels of last month’s expectations-beating report, which showed a growth of 175,000 jobs in February.
The new report revises February’s growth to 197,000 and January’s to 144,000 jobs added, up from an original 129,000.
Friday’s report came in slightly below Wall Street’s optimistic expectations of about 200,000 added jobs in March. The U.S. economy has added 183,000 jobs per month on average over the last year, but the brutal winter across the country cooled things down a bit. Accounting for the latest revisions, from December through February, the average job growth per month was just 139,000, below the 225,000 average growth during the preceding three months. That drop-off can be partially attributed to interruption in construction, and heavy snow temporarily shutting down factories.
Signs of the positive weather change can be seen in the growth of the average workweek in the latest report. In March, the average workweek increased by 0.2 hours to 34.5 hours, including a 0.3 hour increase for the manufacturing workweek. In construction, the average workweek increased by one hour from February to March, returning to the 39.1-hour week from March 2013.
So if baseball season starting up this past week didn’t prove it to you, this new jobs report hopefully should: Winter is over. With the combination of February’s revised number and March’s near-200,000 growth, things are looking just a little rosier. The economic recovery has a way to go, but we may finally be turning a corner after a sluggish few months.
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The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.
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