U.S. Unemployment Rate Remains at 4.1 Percent in March

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in March, the sixth straight month it has done so, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. A separate survey showed businesses claimed to create a net of 102,000 new jobs,. Governments added 1,000 more, with 2,600 new local government jobs offsetting small losses elsewhere.

BLS said there were 6.585 million unemployed in March, down 121,000 from February. It added the combined total of the jobless, people toiling part-time when they really want full-time work and people too discouraged to seek jobs totaled one of every 12 workers.

Factories added 22,000 jobs, to 12.63 million, with 40 percent (+8,800) of the gains in fabricated metal products, including steel. That left 511,000 jobless factory workers (3.3 percent).

Construction firms shed 15,000 jobs, to 7.15 million. The losses were in specialty contractors (-16,200 jobs). Some 696,000 construction workers (7.4 percent) were jobless in March. But union leaders say that understates joblessness in their sector, since a worker toiling for one day in the survey period’s week is counted as being employed the whole month.

“Longer-term trends” in the economy “indicate continued movement in the right direction, but there’s still a ways to go before reaching full employment levels,” Economic Policy Institute analyst Elise Gould tweeted.

As usual, the lowest-paying sectors of service industries added the most jobs: Health care (+22,000), social assistance/home health care (+11,800), hospitals (+9,900) and janitors (+7,500). The one exception: Trucking (+6,700). Overall, services added 87,000 jobs in March, BLS reported.

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

No Money for Pensions, But Plenty for Parties

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Private equity work has been sweet for Marc Leder, the numero uno at Sun Capital Partners. He’s parlayed his takeovers of troubled firms into a fortune big enough to make him a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers in basketball and the New Jersey Devils in hockey. New York’s tabloids, meanwhile, have come to dub the hard-partying Leder “the Hugh Hefner of the Hamptons.” The secret to his success? Private-equity firms, notes Center for Economic and Policy Research economist Eileen Appelbaum, plunder assets from the companies they buy, then send them into bankruptcy to sidestep their obligations to workers. Over the past decade alone, Sun Capital has bankrupted five firms and left their pension funds $280 million short. Leder, for his part, claims that the “vast majority” of Sun Capital deals have been successful. And he only parties hearty, the private-equity kingpin adds, 25 nights a year.

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How We Got Here

How We Got Here