Payroll gains slow as U.S. jobless rate falls to 7.6%

Assembly Lines

Businesses like Winnebago Industries Inc. have had to add more workers as output increased. The Forest City, Iowa-based maker of motor homes boosted daily production 24% during its fiscal second quarter compared with the prior three months, partly by adding staff, according to Chief Financial Officer Sarah Nielsen.

“The lines are completely filled and running, and we’ve been hiring,” Nielsen said during a March 28 earnings call. “Our headcount at this juncture is a little bit under where we need to, but we’ve been keeping up for the most part.” The company has been adding about 20 people a week on a consistent basis, she said.

Additionally, a healthier real-estate market has created the need for more construction jobs since the middle of 2012.

The Pollack Shores Real Estate Group, an Atlanta-based apartment developer and property manager, has boosted employment to 120 this week from 93 at the end of 2012. The company plans to build about 2,000 apartments this year, twice as many as last year, said President Steven Shores.

Construction Jobs

“That will create a significant number of construction jobs,” which are contracted out and not on the company’s staff directly, he said. “There is a big demand for construction jobs. We are starting to see a lack of labor supply drive up some pricing in our areas.”

“The economy is continuing to get better and the job market is going to get tremendously better,” he said.

Fed officials are waiting for sustained signs of job-market resilience before winding down their $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. Central bank policy makers reiterated in a March 20 statement that they would continue to buy securities until the labor market outlook improves “substantially.” Each month the Fed is purchasing Treasuries and mortgage bonds to keep interest rates low, spur economic growth and reduce unemployment.

Bloomberg News

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