Employment in the United States remained stable in March, but job creations in the health sector were lower than in recent months.
The figures were part of the latest report from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released on April 7. The national employment rate was 3.5%, with 5.8 million people out of work, and both numbers have changed little since the start of 2022, according to the BLS.
Healthcare is slowing down
Health care added 33,900 jobs last month, lower than the average monthly gain of 54,000 over the previous six months, according to the report. Home health services led the sector with 15,200 jobs, accounting for much of the gain in outpatient health care.
Doctors’ offices added 2,000 jobs and other practitioners 1,900 workers, but those gains were offset by losses in dentists’ offices, ambulatory care centers and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
In health care, hospitals added 10,900 new positions, while nursing and residential care facilities added 8,000 workers and skilled nursing facilities hired 3,400 workers, according to BLS figures.
Non-farm payrolls rose by 236,000 jobs in March, down from an average monthly gain of about 334,000 new jobs over the past six months.
Leisure and hospitality led employment growth with 72,000 new hires, down from the six-month average of 95,000 new jobs. Restaurants and bars led hiring with 50,000 workers, but overall employment in leisure and hospitality remained down 368,000 workers, or 2.2%, from the pre-pandemic level of February 2022.
Governments added 47,000 workers in March, holding at the six-month average, but down from the February 2022 level of 314,000 workers, or 1.4%. Professional and business services continued their upward trend, adding 39,000 employees to surpass the six-month average of 34,000 workers. In this sector, professional, scientific and technical services increased by 26,000 jobs.
Welfare services added 17,000 workers, down from the 22,000 jobs on average over the past six months. Transportation and warehousing was flat, adding 10,000 jobs, but warehousing and storage lost 12,000 jobs.
Retailers cut 15,000 jobs, with 9,000 jobs lost each at building materials, garden equipment and supply dealers, and furniture, electronics and appliance sellers. Department stores added 15,000 jobs to offset some losses.
In other industries, hiring and reductions were little changed month over month for mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; construction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; information; financial activities; and other services.
The White House responds
In a statement, President Joe Biden called the report good news, with 12.6 million jobs created since he took office and black unemployment at a record high of 5%. The share of working-age Americans in the labor market is at its highest level in 15 years, according to the White House.
“But there is still work to be done,” the president’s statement said. He said the administration is working “to lower costs for families and make our economy even stronger, now and for the long term, with investments in infrastructure, innovation and clean energy.”
The president credited his work and economic agenda for business this week announcing manufacturing investments in Georgia, New Mexico, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
“My program for investing in America is to build an economy that benefits hard-working Americans in every community across the country, not just those at the top,” Biden said. He blamed “extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress” for limiting debt that could “wreak havoc” on the economy by sending jobs overseas.
“And all to pay even more freebies to the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations,” the president’s statement said. “Make no mistake, I will stop these efforts to put our economy at risk and return us to the failed policies of the past.”
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has countered that wage growth is slowing, inflation shows no sign of changing, and gas prices are $1 a gallon higher than when Biden took office.
“Joe Biden’s agenda continues to leave families behind. Americans are taking a pay cut as the cost of gas and groceries continues to soar, but Biden wants taxpayers to foot the bill for his 6.9 tax and spending spree trillion dollars that will push inflation even higher,” said RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. A declaration.