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April 2023 Market Trends Report

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The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in March while the unemployment rate moved down to 3.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Summary. 

While construction (-9,000) and manufacturing (-1,000) experienced slight decreases in employment, transportation and warehousing saw growth (+10,400) in employees on payrolls.

According to BLS, employment in durable goods manufacturing actually grew by 1,000. However, nondurable goods employment decreased by 2,000 in March. Construction experienced a 9,000 job dip thanks in large part to steep declines (-13,900) for specialty trade contractors. Heavy and civil engineering construction, a subsector of construction, gained 7,100 employees in March.

The growth for transportation and warehousing was credit to strong months for subsectors including air transportation (+5,700) and truck transportation (+5,700). Warehousing and storage, on the other hand, dropped 11,800 employees on payrolls in March.

Job openings stay elevated across industrial sectors

The latest Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, which runs a month behind the BLS Employment Situation Summary, showed there were 9.9 million job openings on the last business day of February. 

In February, job openings decreased in transportation, warehousing and utilities (-145,000) and nondurable goods manufacturing (-51,000).  The number of job openings increased in construction (+129,000) and in durable goods manufacturing (+13,000).

Hires dip across industrial sectors;Layoffs level off

Employers continue to hire at an elevated pace, but hires did fall month-over-month in construction (-42,000), manufacturing (-46,000) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-133,000). 

In February, the number of total separations changed little at 5.8 million. After a January that included a spike in layoffs (+426,000) across transportation, warehousing, and utilities, that sector returned to a more normal rate of 61,000 layoffs in February.

According to Nick Bunker, Economic Research Director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab, the jobs market is showing signs of leveling off rather than crashing: “Rather than an abrupt and jarring end to the jobs party of the past couple of years, the nation’s job market is instead gradually turning the lights back up and the music down in a smooth transition from weekend to weekday that looks, for now, to be largely sustainable and healthy. While it’s unclear if the Federal Reserve will still play its traditional role and pull the punchbowl away, the party is already winding down—there’s no need to crash it.”

Jobs Market Overview: March 2023


Overall Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5%, but has shown little net movement since early 2022


Jobs Added

Job growth in March included growth in industrial sectors including transportation and warehousing 


Labor Force Participation Rate

The labor force participation rate has shown little movement since early 2022.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)

Industry Employment Trends




Monthly Job Change

(+2.7% YoY Difference)

Industry Monthly Job Change YoY Difference
Manufacturing -1k +2.1%
Automotive +3.7k +5.4%
Warehouse & Storage -11.8k -1.3%
Architectural & Engineering +6.7k +5.1%
Construction -9k +2.5%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary

The Aerotek Take

“The combination of a low unemployment rate and economic uncertainty is continuing to be one that poses a challenge for businesses that are in the market for light industrial and skilled talent. At times like these when speed and quality are at a premium, we serve as a vital resource for our partners across North America.”

Bill Ruff, Vice President of Strategic Sales

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