(Boston, MA) April 7, 2023 – The Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report shows little change in unemployment, with rates edging down from 3.6% to 3.5%. The employment rate rose to 236,000 jobs, showing a healthy, albeit slow rate of growth. Both are positive signs pointing to a gradual cooling in the economy. Our economists broke down the jobs report this morning on LinkedIn Live.
“For the first time in the battle between the Fed and the labor market we are seeing indications that the Fed is winning, but it’s winning in a nice way, with no big gains in unemployment,” said Lightcast Chief Economist Bledi Taska.
1. The increase in the employment rate (to 60.4% from 60.2% last month) suggests many laid-off workers are transitioning to new employment.
“There is a slight increase in unemployment if you look at engineering and computer occupations. Though the rates for those groups are very low overall– in those occupations, the rate is closer to 2%, which is a very low number. We are seeing slight increases from where we were a year ago. While these layoffs are happening, they aren’t as widespread of a problem as people think,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Rucha Vankudre.
2. The unemployment changed little at 3.5%, edging down from 3.6% in February. While there have been layoffs at major tech companies, those layoffs are still not spreading more broadly. The sectors that include the tech industry saw overall job gains: the Professional and Business Services went up by 39,000 and the Information gained 6,000 jobs.
“This goes against the narrative of mass layoffs in the tech sector, and that those layoffs are spreading through the rest of the economy. Not that the layoffs are not happening, but they are concentrated among a few companies, and the people being laid off are finding jobs relatively easily,” said Lightcast Chief Economist Bledi Taska.
3. The labor market is still adding jobs, albeit slower than it has been in the past year, which shows things are heading in the right direction.
“This is really what we were looking for. We’re still adding jobs, but more slowly. The report is boring in the sense that it was what everyone wanted, but in our economic situation, boring is good news,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Rucha Vankudre.