4/11/2023 – MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
March employment grew by 236,000, unemployment at 3.5 percent
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 236,000 in March, compared with the average monthly gain of 334,000 over the prior 6 months, while the unemployment rate changed little at 3.5 percent. The labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, continued to trend up in March. The employment-population ratio edged up over the month to 60.4 percent. These measures remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels (63.3 percent and 61.1 percent, respectively). Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.2 percent.
Residential building wage growth slowing
Average hourly earnings (AHE) for residential building workers were $29.5 in February 2023, increasing 3% from $28.67 a year ago. This was 14.4% higher than the manufacturing’s average hourly earnings of $25.78, 9.2% higher than transportation and warehousing’s, and 12.0% lower than mining and logging’s. Average hourly earnings for residential building workers grew at a relatively slower pace in the first two months of 2023, compared to the previous two years. The year-over-year growth rate reached 8% in October 2021, the highest rate since February 2019, but this rate is now decelerating.
February consumer credit use rises 3.8 percent vs. 4.9 percent in January
In February, consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.8 percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5 percent (a sharp drop from 12.7 percent in January), while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 3.4 percent (up from 2.2 percent in January).