Washington, D.C. (CNN) The latest monthly jobs report showed U.S. hiring slowed in March but remained robust, with gains in service businesses like bars and restaurants but weakness in construction and construction. manufacturing.
Leisure and hospitality fueled payroll growth last month, a trend that has held since the economy began its post-pandemic recovery. Government employers and the professional and business services industry also hired at a brisk pace last month. But employment fell in construction, manufacturing and non-durable goods.
Here’s a look at where employment rose last month and where it fell, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Leisure and hospitality employers added 72,000 jobs last month, the most of any industry. But the sector is still 2.2% below pre-pandemic staffing levels and added a below-average number of jobs in March compared to the previous six months.
“The gains we continue to see in health care, leisure and hospitality are because these industries are still trying to recoup past losses,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at KPMG. “So the services sector held up but showed some signs of cooling.”
Government employers added 47,000 jobs in March, thanks to hiring from state and local governments, which typically struggle to recruit workers in a tight labor market. Healthcare companies added 34,000 jobs and jobs in the business services sector – which includes many white-collar jobs such as accountants, engineers and consultants – rose by 39,000. Government jobs also remain at 314,000, or nearly 1.4%, below their pre-pandemic level.
However, cracks are beginning to form in the goods-producing part of the labor market. The construction industry lost 9,000 jobs in March, the first drop in construction employment in more than a year and the biggest loss of jobs in the sector since May 2021 – although it s is still a drop of just under 1.1%.
Housing demand slumped late last year when the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes pushed up borrowing costs for homebuyers. But while construction of new homes has slowed over the past year, construction jobs have held up, mostly due to a backlog in construction projects, Swonk said. She added that the decline in construction employment in March is attributed to weak housing demand and “unusually harsh spring weather.”
Another casualty of the Fed’s rate hikes is manufacturing, which also lost jobs last month, according to the BLS.
“Manufacturing is one of the most interest-rate sensitive sectors, along with technology and financial services, so it’s no surprise to see job losses there,” he said. Sinem Buber, Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter.
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Data from the Institute for Supply Management released this week showed the manufacturing sector contracted in March for the fifth consecutive month. The survey index fell to its lowest level since May 2020.
The non-durable goods industry also saw a pullback in hiring, likely due to lower consumer demand for clothing and household products, Buber added.
“These goods are a bit more reactive to any changes in the market, and that’s why we see the industry reacting faster than durable goods,” Buber said.
Temporary jobs also fell by nearly 11,000 in March, which could be an indicator that the labor market will ease further in the coming months, according to Beth Ann Bovino, chief US economist at S&P Global.
“If you’re starting to see a reduction in temporary hires, it usually means companies are seeing some weakness in the revenue stream, which is one of the first signs of an easing in the labor market,” Bovino said. .