Posted April 3, 2020

Employment falls by 701,000 in March

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

The changes reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places. Notable declines also occurred in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.

Manufacturing employment edged down by 18,000 jobs. Over the past 12 months, employment in the industry has shown little net change.

Jobs in the construction industry fell by 29,000 during the month. In March, nonresidential building (-11,000) and heavy and civil engineering construction (-10,000) lost jobs. Construction employment had increased by 211,000 over the prior 12 months.

Mining lost 6,000 jobs in March, with much of the decline occurring in support activities for mining (-5,000). Since a recent peak in January 2019, mining employment has declined by 42,000.

In March, unemployment rates rose among all major worker groups. The rate was 4.0 percent for adult men, 4.0 percent for adult women, 14.3 percent for teenagers, 4.0 percent for Whites, 6.7 percent for Blacks, 4.1 percent for Asians, and 6.0 percent for Hispanics.

The number of unemployed persons who reported being on temporary layoff more than doubled in March to 1.8 million. The number of permanent job losers increased by 177,000 to 1.5 million.