American Businesses Add Employees as Summer Months Approach

U.S. employers increased their hiring numbers in March 2014, a signal of economic growth that indicates a winter freeze was simply a temporary measure.

U.S. payrolls increased by 192,000 employees during the month, according to the Labor Department. The payrolls for January and February increased by a combined 37,000.

The U.S. unemployment rate stayed put at 6.7 percent.

Economists had projected a payroll increase of 200,000 employees with an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent.

Other key findings of the study:

  • Private payrolls reached 116.09 million in March 2014, surpassing the previous benchmark of 115.98 million from January 2008.
  • Federal, local and state government have trimmed over 535,000 jobs.
  • The civilian labor force has increased by approximately 2 million.
  • More people work in healthcare and temporary jobs, and fewer in manufacturing and construction.

The newest round of payroll numbers indicate that the economy is regaining its former status as summer approaches. Consumers and businesses remain cautious as household spending sees only slight improvements over the last couple of years.

Hiring activity had slowed dramatically over the winter months due to icy temperatures and snowstorms along the East Coast and across the Midwest. The struggles of January and February seem to be far behind as businesses prepare for a busy summer season. Employment rose in business and professional services, including healthcare, temp work and the mining industry. Manufacturing lost a relatively small total of 1,000 jobs. The construction sector, long known for its reliance on favorable weather, increased by over 19,000 jobs.

The report also noted that average earnings for employees fell by a single penny, down to $24.30 per hour. Meanwhile, the average workweek is 34.5 hours, up from 34.3 hours last month. More hours and higher wages mean a little extra money in the pocketbooks of today’s consumers.

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