The Numbers Continue to Outpace Expectations “Groundhog Day” Style


The March jobs report says Brian Miller, CEO of Patrice & Associates Staffing & Recruiting continues to confound analysts who consistently underestimate the resilience of the business community.

The March jobs report says Brian Miller, CEO of Patrice & Associates Staffing & Recruiting continues to confound analysts who consistently underestimate the resilience of the business community.

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Once again, analysts underestimated the labor numbers, and the market charged right past them. It’s been a “Groundhog Day” pattern for months now. Employers hired 303,000 people in March, surging past expectations of a more moderate increase. And the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Generally, economists deem anything below 5% a healthy job market.

CCG:    What is the explanation for this month’s job performance? 

Miller: That’s a straightforward question with a complex answer. First, even though month after month, the economy has posted more jobs than anticipated, 2023 saw a deceleration in the pace of that growth. Second, fewer companies are actively hiring, especially those in industries plagued by the effects of inflation and high interest rates. That explains why analysts keep waiting for a down-shift.


CCG: Are more companies cutting back their staff in addition to slowing hiring? 

Miller: Some employers may not be hiring, but most with the exception of a few high-profile cases, aren’t trimming their current staff. They fear they won’t be able to replace team members once the economy shifts and business picks back up. Combine that with many companies being short-staffed and a very low unemployment rate, and you’ve got hiring challenges even with the random layoffs.

 CCG: It sounds like anyone hiring in the near term will need a good recruiter.

Miller: If they are interested in efficiencies, they will. Despite the slowdown in the pace of hiring, employment continues to grow at a rate surpassing the historical averages. It’s a strong labor market, albeit different from 2022 and early 2023. Even with companies slowing down their hiring, those who are hiring are not receiving the volume of applicants and resumes like in the old days. Quality candidates more and more come through placement companies like Patrice & Associates.

CCG: Has the economy or other forces caused more people to enter the labor market? 

Miller: You’re asking about the labor force participation rate (LFPR). As in the months preceding, this metric remained virtually unchanged at 62.7% in March. In fact, both the LFPR and the 60.3% employment-population ratio (EPR), which measures the civilian labor force currently employed against the total working-age population, have not changed much all year. These are key statistics we use to gauge the level of participation in the labor market. To answer your question, the vast majority of people who have left the workforce have not jumped back in.

CCG: Did any specific sectors lead the way in March’s performance?

Miller: A few sectors were standouts, including healthcare, government, and leisure/hospitality a Patrice & Associates sweet spot. The healthcare sector added more than 72,000 jobs, and employment in government increased by 71,000. The hospitality sector onboarded 49,000 jobs and has returned to its pre-pandemic February 2020 level. Over the prior 12 months, job growth in the industry has averaged 37,000 per month so you can see March 2024 was a leap.

CCG: Hospitality always seems to be one of the top industries for Job Growth. Are other forces at play?


Miller: In addition to adding new jobs, the industry’s high turnover rate plays a role. Our clients routinely seek our help in filling these jobs because in our tight labor market, companies simply cannot efficiently or effectively fill jobs through traditional means like advertising, job boards, and word-of-mouth. They may think those methods are less expensive, but the cost of an unfilled chair in terms of productivity and the cost of a bad hiring choice far exceed the fees associated with professional placement. Plus, recruiters have access to more qualified potential candidates, which dramatically expands the labor pool for HR managers.


CCG: What other sectors of your business showed increases in March? 

Miller: In addition to an overall improvement in hiring from restaurant concepts and hotels seeking managers and executives, we also saw increased demand for talent in non-service-based businesses. Those include niches like construction and engineering, two of the many diverse industries we serve to help companies find top talent. In March, construction added 39,000 jobs, about double the monthly gain of 19,000 over the prior 12 months.

CCG: Are there any other factors to watch?

Miller: One noteworthy trend to watch is the recent 25% increase from $16 to $20 in the California minimum wage. This has caused leading fast-food industry companies to lay off workers and increase prices. Not only are customers not happy about it, but the increase could also have long-lasting effects on the state’s already high unemployment rate, which exceeds the national average.

CCG: How did the month shape up in Canada?

Miller: The Canadian unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in March, according to Statistics Canada. Losses were in the scientific and technical sectors. However, the losses were partially offset by gains in healthcare and social assistance. Economists anticipate that the Canadian unemployment rate may reach a peak of 6.5% before beginning to decline. This decline is expected to be influenced by potential rate cuts from the Central Bank of Canada later this year. Such monetary policy measures are typically aimed at stimulating economic activity and reducing unemployment levels.








Duke Witte absolutely was amazing! 

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to Duke Witte for his assistance in finding me a new job in the hospitality industry. I was disgruntled with my previous job, and I was feeling very discouraged about my prospects. I had been working in the restaurant industry for many years, and I had a lot of experience and skills, but I was having a hard time finding a better opportunity.

I was contacted via LinkedIn by Duke, and thank goodness I was.  Mr. Witte was incredibly helpful and supportive throughout the entire process. He took the time to understand my skills and experience, and worked tirelessly to find me a job that was a good fit.

Duke was also very honest and upfront with me about the job market. He didn't sugarcoat things, but also didn't give up on me. He kept me motivated and encouraged, and never gave up on finding me a job that I would love.

I am so grateful to Duke Witte and his team for their help. I am now happily employed, and I am so happy that I was able to find a job that I love. I would highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for a job in the restaurant industry. He is a true professional, and is dedicated to helping his clients find the perfect job!

Thank you again for everything!

Nick Grubbs

Working with Chris Bovio made job searching so much easier! 

Not only was he available and involved in my search, but also knowledgeable regarding the position. Chris used his industry experience and recruiting network to find the best position for me and my skill set. My only regret is that my new job is so perfect for me that I won’t need to use Chris or Patrice & Associates later.


Nick Guarino

Michael Greig was absolutely fantastic in every way! 

He gave me options and suggestions & eventually found a great for me. Communication was easy and he went above & beyond. Also, he seems like an all around good dude. Thanks again Michael. Solid work out there. You’re hired :)

Nic Callahan

Bryan Curtis was fantastic to work with!

Bryan was very on top of things throughout my recruiting process to the engineering firm I accepted my position with.  I responded to his LinkedIn posting and heard back from him within 24 hours. He continually spoke with me throughout the process checking in regularly and answering all my questions. Bryan was instrumental in helping me find a great job.



Frank Rondeau was a really big help! 

When it came to helping me find my new job, he knocked it out of the park!  He was very honest and thorough throughout the entire process. We had multiple conversations along the way and he always checked in after interviews. Frank was amazing to work with, and I'm super excited to start my new journey thanks to him.       

Many Thanks,


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