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March Jobs Creation Better Than The Headlines

J.G. Collins profile picture
J.G. Collins


  • Average three-month job creation remains above 200,000.
  • Year-on-year weekly wage growth exceeds inflation in the largest segment of consumer expenditures.
  • Other economic data were mixed relative to last month, but better year-on-year.
  • The purported "trade war" is way overblown. If US allies join the USA in reining in China's chronic abuses of trade, the global economy will realize a huge "fair trade" dividend.

Data Points

We had a disappointing jobs report for March that fell well below expectations: 103,000 new jobs versus the 193,000 that were forecast. That's a huge decline from last month's revised jobs count of 326,000, but well above the 73,000 jobs from the same period last year.

Average three-month job creation was just 202,000, including revisions, down substantially from the 242,000 (before revisions) that had been announced in the February jobs report. It's also a decline in the average three-month jobs creation from February's number, which was 225,000 jobs after accounting for today's revisions. Today's revisions resulted in 50,000 fewer jobs than had been previously reported for January and February.

The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, down 0.4 of a percentage point from the same period last year and unchanged from February.

The labor participation rate was 62.9 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the same period last year and also down 0.1 percentage point from February.

The U-6 measure of people marginally attached to the workforce was 8.0 percent, down 0.8 percentage point from the same period in 2017, and 0.2 of a percentage point from last month. Every category of occupations lost jobs in March, except for Utility, Wholesale, IT, and Financial.

Utility workers' job gains were likely attributable to the heavy snows and other storms that disabled power lines across much of the nation's population centers during the month.

IT and financial workers follow a pattern we've seen for several years, where companies hire for their financial reporting and tax compliance.

We're at some loss to explain why wholesale gained 4,300 jobs as wholesale inventories increased while retail sales decreased in February. We speculate that perhaps retailers were building inventories during March in anticipation of the trade aftershocks from the tariffs President Trump announced at the beginning

This article was written by

J.G. Collins profile picture
Before establishing The Stuyvesant Square Consultancy, J.G. Collins spent some 30 years building a career in executive and consulting financial roles, with a particular emphasis in business taxation. His experience spans work for Fortune 100 companies, one of the former “Big Eight” international accounting firms, and client service for large middle-market public accounting firms. He has advised domestic and foreign clients in the tax-efficient structuring of legal entities, effective tax rate planning, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, treasury operations, financial instruments, international taxation, tax accounting under GAAP, state and local taxation, and sales and miscellaneous taxes. He has managed countless federal and state tax audits to successful resolutions for clients. His experience spans a diverse array of industries, including private equity, motion pictures and music entertainment, fashion, real estate, publishing, technology development, retail, and oil and gas. Mr. Collins conceived and branded the specialty industry entertainment practice of one of the nation’s leading accounting firms and oversaw the business tax marketing program for business enterprises of another large regional firm. Mr. Collins’ marketing collateral and published articles have been extraordinarily well received because of his ability to present intricate and complex aspects of tax, business, policy, and politics in clear, concise, easily understandable prose devoid of jargon and irrelevant detail. An astute, data-driven observer of business, politics and economics, Mr. Collins has advised political candidates and public officials on campaign, political and policy matters for more than two decades, and has twice been a delegate to his political party’s national quadrennial convention to nominate the American president. His expertise as a champion debater and orator in his student days, along with his savvy marketing expertise, has allowed Mr. Collins to coach private and public sector executives and candidates on public speaking, speech writing, message development and successful business presentations. Campaign collateral he developed for political campaigns has been used in university courses as an “excellent example of persuasive campaign advertising”. Mr. Collins holds degrees in Economics and Accounting from the Stern School of Business, New York University. His elective coursework included a number of political science courses, including International Politics, International Organizations, European Politics and other more basic political science courses.

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