• The unofficial unemployed: The broadest measure of labour market slack, which includes discouraged workers and those working part time for economic reasons, actually ticked up this month to 16.9 per cent, its highest measure since December.
• Long-term unemployed: The per cent of long-term unemployed continues to rise. The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer was 44.1 per cent in March, up from 40.9 per cent in February.
• Medium-term unemployed: And it’s not just the long term unemployed that are finding the labour market increasingly hostile. The median duration of unemployment rose to 20 weeks in March, up from 19.4 weeks in February.
• Would-be census workers: Census hiring only accounted for 48,000 new jobs in March, against expectations of 80,000. This bodes well for the overall strength of employment figures. Census jobs are temporary and aren’t indicative of greater business confidence the way other temporary jobs are. But for those who were hoping the census would provide a brief unemployment respite, the jobs haven’t panned out just yet.
• Financial workers: It’s hard to have sympathy, these days. But employees in the financial industries lost 21,000 jobs last month. Insurance carriers were particularly hard hit, shedding 9,000 jobs.
• Teenagers: Teenagers saw a 1.1 percentage point increase in their unemployment rate which now stands at 26.1 per cent. But that figure is volatile - it had fallen 1.4 percentage points from January to February.
• Blacks and African Americans: The February drop in unemployment among Blacks was reversed in March, as joblessness rose 0.7 percentage points to 16.5 per cent.
People with jobs: The average workweek rose by 0.1 hours to 34.0, a sign of increased business activity, and a harbinger of hiring to come. But, alas, the news wasn’t all good. The average hourly earnings fell by $0.02, or 0.1 per cent following February’s $0.04 gain.
• Health care workers: Health care accounted for 27,000 jobs in March. The best field to be looking for work in? Ambulatory health care services - work with those who need outpatient services - which saw gains of 16,000.
• Temps: 40,200 new private sector temp jobs were created in March, a sign of increased business confidence. But growth wasn’t as strong as it had been in January, when the sector picked up 49,200 new jobs.
• Miners and manufacturers: Mining jobs increased by 8,000, compared to an average of 6,000 over the past five months. Manufacturing employment continued its upward trend, growing by 17,000 in March.
• People without a high school diploma: The unemployment rate fell 1.1 percentage points. But that doesn’t mean the advice we all were given to finish high school was any bad thing: at 14.5 per cent, the unemployment rate for those with less than a high school diploma is far higher than more educated groups.
As encouraging as the number appears, a closer look at the short list, nevertheless, shows worrying signs, especially where the losers include long-term and medium-term unemployed workers, as well as Black and African American workers. For the time being, Larry Summers was on point that a source of stimulus to the economy is "the sense that the country’s long-term problems – healthcare, energy, education, long-run fiscal deficits – are being addressed." More on the US recovery could be found on the Economist's special report this week.
--Image by the Financial Times