Jobs Gain Overall, But Finance Sectors Stumble in March 2010

March 2010 employment in the securities industry turned out to be less than stellar, with another loss of about 0.3 percent or 2,800 jobs, though total employment has been rising across the economy.

Overall

The biggest gain in employment since March 2007 was headline news from the Labor Department's employment report for March 2010: It boosted a gain of 162,000 jobs.

Support for this positive news came from an increase of nearly 50,000 temporary jobs held by Census workers during the month. The news was generally expected, though some economists had anticipated that as many as 200,000 jobs would be added.

Coupled with the effect of rehiring after two major weather events, many analysts remain unclear about what this report really means for employment and for the economy in general. As a result, April will certainly be scrutinized for any sign of further recovery in the labor markets.

Securities Industry

Employment in this industry for March turned out to be non-stellar with another loss of about 0.3 percent or 2,800 jobs.

We have certainly been anticipating and hoping for a reversal in the hiring trend to show up in these numbers, but March's anemic results take us to another post-recession low employment level for this group.

Finance and Insurance

There was some more real pain felt in this broader area in March, with the larger sector showing a loss of another 15,500 jobs; for a total of 57,400 jobs lost just this calendar year. Losses in the securities business took a smaller hit than the insurance and banking fields. Employment in this group reached a new low in March with a total of 5,646,800 workers - a level not seen since before 2000.

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