The latest Labor Department Monthly Employment Report confirmed the U.S. economy is no longer crawling. Professor Thomas "Danny" Boston says it is now galloping forward after 331,000 more workers entered the labor force in March.
This is a signal of rising optimism among the unemployed regarding the likelihood of finding work. Despite the large influx into the labor market, the unemployment rate (6.7 percent) remained constant - something that could happen only if a comparable amount of jobs opened up or new jobs were created.
The report showed 192,000 new jobs were created during March, which matched the number created in February (197,000). More importantly, new jobs were created across all sectors of the economy, not just in selected industries. For example, healthcare services added 27,000 new jobs; leisure and hospitality, 29,000; retail trades, 21,300; construction, 19,000. In contrast, the government did not take away jobs - its net employment change was zero.
Among demographic groups, white unemployment remained unchanged at 5.8 percent, while unemployment among blacks increased slightly from 12.0 percent to 12.4 percent. Finally, unemployment among Hispanics declined slightly from 8.1 percent to 7.9 percent.
Since the recovery started almost five years ago, the economy has experienced periodic ups and downs, as if conforming to a business cycle within a recovery. Clearly, this is the latest upward trend.
Data from other sectors of the economy confirms the robust growth that is occurring. For example, the automobile industry sold one million more units in March than in February (reaching 16.3 million). Housing starts, adversely affected by the bad weather continue to hold steady at 907,000. Finally, new orders for durable goods increased significantly along with the manufacturing and service sector indexes. Finally, fourth quarter GDP was revised upward from 2.4 percent to 2.6 percent.
In short, the economy is on a new roll.
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