The March payroll figures released today show slower job growth as compared to February. The unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6%. Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 88,000.
Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in March while health care continued its steady climb with a gain of 23,000, similar to the prior 12-month average. Within health care, employment increased by 15,000 in ambulatory health care services, such as home health care, and by 8,000 in hospitals.
Construction employment continued to grow as well, adding18,000 jobs in March while specialty trade contractors gained 23,000 jobs. Growth also continued in leisure and hospitality, where employment in food services and drinking places was up by 13,000. However, retail trade employment declined by 24,000. Employment in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, state government, and local government, showed little change over February.