What’s Happening in the Job World?
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What’s Happening in the Job World?

Big news! In March, there were more new jobs than anyone expected. Around 303,000 people found jobs, which is more than the 200,000 that people thought would happen.

Lots of jobs were available, and people’s pay went up a bit, but not so much that prices for things went up too fast. The number of people who don’t have jobs, called the unemployment rate, went down a bit to 3.8%, from 3.9% in February. “It’s been over two years now that the unemployment rate has been 4% or lower, which is the longest time since the late 1960s,” said Elise Gould, who knows a lot about jobs.

More People Are Working Thanks to Immigration
For a country to have more people working, two things need to happen: more people who can work need to decide to work, and there need to be more people in the country. But in the U.S., not as many babies are being born, and lots of people are getting older. Still, over the past few years, more people have been joining the workforce.

One big reason for this is immigration. In 2023, the U.S. got about 3.3 million new immigrants, which is three times more than what was expected in 2019. “Having more people and more workers has meant that companies can hire more people without prices going up too much,” said a report from The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.

More Hiring Everywhere
In March, the health care industry added 72,000 jobs, and the government added 71,000. Both had a hard time during the COVID-19 pandemic and needed to hire more people. Restaurants, hotels, and other leisure businesses added 49,000 jobs, and even construction added 39,000 jobs, even though fewer people were buying houses because of high interest rates.

The good news is that more industries are hiring than not. This is measured by something called the diffusion index, which was 59.4 in March. If it’s above 50, it means more industries are hiring.

People’s Pay Is Going Up
In March, people’s pay went up by about 4.1% compared to last year. It’s a bit less than earlier this year, when it was 4.5%. But since prices for things we buy are going up by about 3.2% each year, people are still making more money when you take away the effects of inflation.

“The slower growth in pay means we don’t need to worry as much about prices going up too fast because of people making more money,” said Nick Bunker, who studies jobs. “Even though pay is going up more slowly, it’s still going up faster than prices, which is good for workers.”

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