The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that U.S. employers across various industries expanded payrolls by 303,000 jobs last month, far exceeding analysts’ expectations of between 205,000 and 214,000 jobs. This latest report marks 39 consecutive months of job growth for the U.S. economy. The BLS also notes that new job creation in January and February was higher than previously reported — by a total of 22,000 positions.
Employers in private education and health services expanded payrolls by 88,000 jobs last month, according to the BLS. The government sector saw a significant rise in employment in March as well, adding 71,000 jobs to the U.S. economy. The BLS reports that these industries also had notable job gains last month: – Leisure and hospitality: 49,000 jobs added – Construction: 39,000 jobs added – Retail trade: 17,600 jobs added – Wholesale trade: 8,500 jobs added – Professional and business services: 7,000 jobs added
The national unemployment rate was 3.8% in March, down from 3.9% in February. The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older also decreased slightly in March. The rate was 2.1%, down from 2.2% in February. These professionals are the most highly sought-after hires by employers. Many in-demand roles have even lower unemployment rates, according to other recent data from the BLS. Examples include administrative services managers (1.5%), web developers (1.4%), accountants and auditors (1.3%), lawyers (0.9%), and database administrators and architects (0.9%).* *Percentages reflect unemployment rates for select positions that were near or below the national unemployment rate at the end of the fourth quarter of 2023. Current Population Statistics report, BLS, Jan. 5, 2024.
Separate data from the BLS shows that there were 8.8 million job openings in the United States at the end of February. That figure is only a slight decline from the 8.9 million job openings the BLS reported for January, signaling that many employers are still struggling to hire workers with in-demand skill sets. Robert Half’s workplace research found that 65% of employers are looking to hire entry-level professionals in early 2024 to help ease their hiring needs. With this strategy, many aim to: Address skills gaps Many entry-level workers are tech-savvy and possess the skills and ability to work with the most up-to-date tools necessary to help businesses innovate and grow. Complement their corporate culture Entry-level workers can infuse new energy into the organization and bring different ideas and perspectives to the table. Position for long-term growth Many employers see bringing in entry-level candidates who they can train and upskill as a future-forward staffing approach.
Read the latest issue of Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report to get details on in-demand positions for several industries including finance and accounting, technology, legal, and administrative and customer support. Learn about U.S. hiring and employment trends in 2024, strategies to attract and retain top talent, and common hiring mistakes and how to avoid them. View the Demand for Skilled Talent report now on the Robert Half website.
The 2024 Salary Guide From Robert Half features exclusive data and input from employers and workers, and from our recruiters who staff tens of thousands of jobs each year. Our guide is designed to be a go-to resource on the latest hiring and compensation trends for both employers and job seekers. And you can view it right now, for free, on the Robert Half website. Read the 2024 Salary Guide
See this video featuring Robert Half Operational President Dawn Fay for further analysis of the March 2024 jobs report, along with tactical tips for employers and job seekers, including entry-level professionals. WATCH VIDEO NOW