CHICAGO Primary metal
producers and fabricators both registered employment gains in
March compared with the previous month, but results were mixed
in a year-on-year comparison.
Producers employed 397,500
people during the month (not seasonally adjusted), adding 2,600
jobs vs. February by shedding 2,400 positions compared with
March 2012. Meanwhile, fabricated metal product
companiesemploying nearly 1.43 million workers in
Marchadded 6,200 jobs month on month and 33,900 positions
year on year, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report
that pegged the unemployment rate at 7.6 percent in March vs.
7.7 percent in February.
One of the bright spots was
machinery manufacturing, which added 5,600 jobs in March vs.
February. The mining sector outside of oil and gas added 2,500
jobs, and manufacturers of motor vehicles and parts added 4,500
jobs in the same comparison.
The transportation and logistics
sector was more muted in March. Waterborne transportation
service providers added 800 jobs, the trucking sector added 300
jobs and rail business added 100 jobs compared with
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 88,000
in March, seasonally adjusted.
"This is a disappointing report,
much worse than expected, which will dash hopes that the
economy had reached a sustained 200,000-plus monthly job
creation rate," according to Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist
at IHS Global Insight Inc., Lexington, Mass.
"There were disappointments
almost across the board, especially in manufacturing. It is
hard to blame the sequester for (that)," he said.
The results "will fan fears that
we will once again see a slowdown in job creation after a
strong start to the year, as in 2011 and 2012. The three-month
moving average of job creation has now dropped to just
168,000it had previously been running above 200,000,"
Gault said. "With the impact of the sequester yet to be felt,
hopes that the economy could sustain a 200,000-plus monthly job
creation rate will have to be deferred until 2014."