According to the Department of Labor, the economy created 192,000 jobs in March. This figure was significantly greater than January’s and February’s initial jobs numbers and seems to indicate that the labor market has recovered after experiencing sub-par growth in those months. A growing labor market is a sign of a growing economy, which benefits all industries, including seniors housing.

In addition to the 192,000 jobs that were created in March, January’s figures were revised upwards from 129,000 to 144,000 and February’s were revised as well from 175,000 to 197,000. These revisions mean that job growth has averaged 183,000 over the past 12 months. The largest gains were made in professional and businesses services which added 57,000 jobs. The education and health sectors added 34,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 29,000, construction companies added 19,000, and local governments added 8,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%. Other figures in the report were also positive; for example, the average workweek increased from 34.3 hours in February to 34.5 in March, the labor participation rate increased from 63% to 63.2%, and the number of Americans that have been unemployed for at least six months decreased by 110,000 to 3.7 million.

The jobs report wasn’t all good news as average hourly earnings did dip by one cent from $24.31 to $24.30 and a measure of joblessness that includes part-time employees who would prefer full-time employment, people who have stopped looking for work, and people who are looking for work but can’t find it, increased slightly from 12.7% to 12.8%. However, even with these figures, and the fact that job gains were slightly below the 195,000 to 200,000 that analysts had expected, the jobs report was still received positively. Analysts had expected an uptick in employment as the extreme winter conditions that depressed the labor market in January and February retreated and this appears to have happened. They were also heartened by the increase in the labor participation rate and because long-term unemployment is considered by many economists to be the one of the most accurate indicators of an economy’s health, analysts were also happy to see that this figure is trending downwards. Similarly, the uptick in the labor participation rate means that people are more optimistic about finding employment and such optimism generally occurs when the economy is growing. Lastly, after more than six years, private sector employment has finally returned to pre-recession levels.

The March jobs report should encourage the Federal Reserve to continue tapering its quantitative easing program and this will bring the Fed one step closer to raising interest rates. As the economy continues to improve and the Fed moves closer to raising rates, senior housing participants and other parties who are interested in obtaining inexpensive capital for growth or other needs should contact Cambridge Realty Capital to learn more about its many different financing programs.

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