Exploring Economic Indicators: March Employment

Economic indicators are released every week to provide insight into the overall health and performance of an economy. They serve as essential tools for policymakers, advisors, investors, and businesses because they allow them to make informed decisions regarding business strategies and financial markets. In the week ending on April 4th, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) fell 1.91% while the Invesco S&P 500® Equal Weight ETF (RSP) was down 2.34%.

Among all economic indicators, some of the most closely watched are those surrounding the labor market. Not only do they provide insight into the health of the economy, but they impact individual’s lives and play a central role in government policy decisions. Last week featured a handful of employment updates including the BLS’s March Employment Report, February’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report, and March’s ADP Private Employment Report. Each of these reports offer insights into different aspects of the U.S. labor market. This article will highlight the key data points from each report and explore their potential implications.

Employment Report

The U.S. labor market added more jobs than expected last month while the unemployment rate inched down, pointing to a strong and resilient labor market. The March employment report revealed 303,000 jobs were added last month, surpassing the expected 212,000 addition. March’s jobs numbers were a pickup from February’s revised 270,000 addition and the largest monthly gain in over a year.

The report also indicated that the unemployment rate fell to 3.8% while the labor force participation rate increased to 62.7%. Additionally, wage growth increased 0.3% from February and slowed to 4.1% on an annual basis.

Overall, the latest jobs report showed a much stronger than expected labor market and reinforces the Fed’s position of patience with regards to when they will begin cutting rates.