The real unemployment rate – March 2021


Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was the best since last August. After last’s week’s ADP Report showing a surge of hiring by businesses of all sizes in March there was reason for optimism. It was justified once government jobs were accounted for as well. Importantly, it marked the third consecutive month of improvement too.

While the unemployment rate has consistently been falling, one of the issues in recent months has been the number of people long-term unemployed, which made the unemployment rate look artificially lower than reality. The process made in March was the real deal with simply significantly more people going back to work. 

First, the headline numbers from the jobs report. The unemployment rate was 6%, and we added over 916,000 jobs. The positive revisions from previous months totaling 156,000 jobs. But there’s more, not only was the gain of greater than 900k thousand jobs impressive, the government revisions found another significant chunk of jobs they’d missed previously taking the net job growth reflected in this report to nearly 1.1 million jobs. That’s great news.

Florida once again was one of the states to lead the way with positive revisions. Florida’s unemployment rate is at 4.7% and remains 20% lower than the national average.

Now, the real unemployment rate once underemployed, long-term unemployed and marginally attached people are accounted for is 10.7%. This is where the real news from this report showed up. Not only did we add back the jobs already discussed, another 200,000 people not counted by the base rate went back to work. 

The biggest beneficiaries were Hispanics with the Asian unemployment rate rising slightly and all other ethnicities pretty much flat. Plus, the average hourly wage fell by 4 cents per hour during the month to $29.96 and the average full-time income is currently $54,371, an increase of $378 over the prior month.

Generally, this remains an economy of jobs haves and have nots. Those who are fulltime employed are generally earning more than they ever have.  

Photo by: Getty Images


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