The unemployment rate remained stable in February, after falling from 10 to 9.7 percent the previous month. Consumer spending also continued its slow increase, growing by 0.3 percent in February, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Many economists had hoped that March numbers would be increasingly promising, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal.
However, data from Automatic Data Processing Inc. and Macroeconomic Advisers may represent a further setback. The report showed that private-sector payroll lost 23,000 jobs in March. This does not account for government-sector jobs, which may have experienced a significant boost from the 2010 Census hires that month.
These temporary jobs are expected to reflect gains in Census Bureau reports of March's employment rate, according to the Journal. Still, the unemployment rate is likely to remain stable at 9.7 percent.
The report also did not take into consideration any effects that weather may have had on employment. Some have pointed to severe winter storms in February for slowing that month's hiring processes. Tame March conditions may have led to a rebound, as well as an effort to make up for any lost hiring opportunities during February.
Small businesses were hit hardest by job losses in March, according to the ADP report. Firms with fewer than 50 employees trimmed some 12,000 positions that month, while businesses with 500 or more cut 7,000 jobs. Medium-sized firms lost 4,000 jobs in March.
The Journal also referred to data from TrimTabs Investment Research, which predicted that about 280,000 jobs had actually been added to the U.S. economy.
"While the Census Bureau's hiring of temporary workers was responsible for most of the employment growth, the private sector finally started adding employees," Charles Biderman, chief executive of TrimTabs, told the newspaper.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is slated to release its unemployment data for the previous month on April 2.
Trimmed wages paired with growing unemployment have made it increasingly difficult for Americans to remain current on their credit. Monthly filings by Bank of America Corp., Discover Financial Services and American Express Company showed an increase in charge-offs in February. Like with late payments, these actions came be severely damaging to an individual's credit score and make it more difficult to obtain future loans.