US job growth slows some in March, unemployment still low
The job market remains strong.
Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash
The job market remains strong.
In March, job growth in the U.S. economy slowed somewhat from the prior two months, even as unemployment remained at historical lows.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for March 2023 showed the following:
The U.S. economy added 236,000 new jobs in March. The pace of job gains is slowing so far in 2023. The March total is below the 311,000 positions gained in February, and 504,000 added in January. It is also below the six-month average monthly gain of 334,000.
Retail jobs showed little change, as the sector lost 15,000 jobs. Even as furniture, electronics and appliances showed some losses, department stores continue to be a gainer, adding 15,000 jobs.
Unemployment edged down to 3.5%, falling only slightly from 3.6% in March. The unemployment rate continues to be little changed this year.
Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $33.18. This brings the 12-month wage increase to 4.2%.
What it means for brands and retailers: The job market remains a key indicator of demand, and overall it is still rolling along. While there was a slowdown in job growth on the month, there are still signs of strength throughout the labor market. Unemployment is low, wages are rising and employers are still in fact adding jobs. On the whole, the report tells retail leaders that consumers will have confidence to continue spending, just as they have in past months. While inflation is causing consumers to make choices about what they buy, overall they are still shopping.
What it means for the Fed: This is where it starts to get tricky. The Federal Reserve has watched the job market remain hot as inflation continued to tick up, and it raised interest rates to tamp down demand in an effort to get inflation under control. This jobs report shows that there is some cooling happening, which the Fed would expect after such aggressive interest rate hikes. That shows up in the slowdown to job growth. But there are no signs that unemployment is ticking up, even as many members of the Fed’s key committee have projected that number will rise at some point this year. On balance, the job market is still strong. So the Fed will be watching closely to see whether inflation comes down in next week’s Consumer Price Index, even as the job market is still mostly robust. That could go a long way toward informing the size of the rate increase when the committee meets May 2-3, even as the Fed must now also factor in the fallout from the banking crisis wrought by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
On the Move has the latest hiring update from The Vitamin Shoppe and At Home.
This week, Unilever, Nike and BigCommerce are seeing major transitions in the executive ranks. Meanwhile, The Vitamin Shoppe named a permanent CEO, and At Home brought on a longtime Walmart executive as president.
Conny Braams. (Courtesy photo)
Consumer goods giant Unilever announced key changes in top leadership roles. These include:
Graeme Pitkethly will retire as chief financial officer, effective at the end of May 2024. The board is set to launch a formal search for his successor. Pitkethly has been with Unilever for 21 years.
Conny Braams, who serves as chief digital and commercial officer, will leave the company, effective August 2023. Braams previously held senior management roles including Executive Vice President (EVP) of Middle Europe; and EVP Foodsolutions Asia, Africa and Middle East.
Craig Williams. (Courtesy photo)
Nike, Inc. announced several key leadership changes focused on consumer-led growth and marketplace. They are as follows:
Heidi O’Neill who is currently president of consumer and marketplace, will become president of consumer, product and brand.
Craig Williams, who is currently president of the Jordan Brand, will become president of geographies and marketplace at Nike, Inc.
Matthew Friend, EVP and Chief Financial Officer at NIKE, Inc., will expand responsibilities to include procurement, global places and services and demand and supply management.
Jared Carver will serve as CEO of Converse. Over the last four years, he served as VP/GM of North America for Converse.
Scott Uzzell, the previous CEO of Converse, transitioned to a new role as VP/GM, North America for Nike, Inc.
“These shifts will allow us to streamline our focus across product, brand storytelling and marketplace, mining deep consumer insights to deliver breakthrough innovation and engagement, while building long-term growth and profitability,” said Nike CEO John Donahoe, in a statement.
Lee Wright. (Courtesy photo)
Lee A. Wright was named CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe on a permanent basis, after serving as interim CEO since January 2023. Wright previously served as Chief Commercial Officer of Franchise Group and in executive roles at Conn’s.
Muriel Gonzalez was promoted to president of the retailer, after serving as EVP and chief merchandising and marketing officer of The Vitamin Shoppe since August 2020.
BigCommerce announced the following leadership roles:
Daniel Lentz was promoted to chief financial officer of BigCommerce, effective July 1. He previously served as SVP of finance and investor relations. Lentz will succeed CFO Robert Alvarez, who is retiring after a 12-year stint as CFO.
Chuck Cassidy was promoted to general counsel, effective June 2. Cassidy previously served as VP and associate general counsel. He will succeed Jeff Mengoli, who is retiring.
Hubert Ban was named chief accounting officer. He will replace Vice President of Accounting and Principal Accounting Officer Thomas Aylor, who departed the ecommerce platform on May 19.
Jeff Evans. (Courtesy photo)
Jeff Evans was named president and chief merchandising officer of At Home, the home goods retailer.
Evans previously served as EVP of entertainment, toys and seasonal at Walmart, managing the largest general merchandise business for the retailer. He rose to the position after serving in executive roles at Walmart US and Sam’s Club.