Economy

March Jobs Report: Everything You Need to Know

March Jobs Report: Everything You Need to Know

Although the number of new jobs created slowed sharply from February's revised 326,000 increase, the US added an average of 202,000 jobs a month in the first quarter.

Unseasonably warm weather boosted employment in the late winter, but as a result some industries such as construction trimmed payrolls last month.

Temperatures returned to normal in March, with snowstorms in some parts of the country.

Businesses added 241,000 jobs in March, with construction, manufacturing and transportation leading the growth, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday in a separate estimate.

What happened: The pace of hiring was expected to slow in March after a huge gain in February that matched the biggest increase in nearly three years.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained 4.1%, a 17-year low, for a sixth straight month.

The U.S. economy appears to be sturdy, with the recovery from the 2008-2009 Great Recession now the second-longest expansion since the 1850s, when economists began tracking recessions and recoveries. With consumer confidence near the highest point in two decades, however, consumer spending is likely to rebound in the coming months.

With labor market slack diminishing, wage growth picked up a bit in March. That was the smallest amount since September and followed a 326,000 surge in February. But the firm expects growth to rebound to a decent 3.1 percent annual pace in the current April-June quarter.

"In sum, no change in the Fed's trajectory", said Steven Blitz, chief USA economist at a TS Lombard in NY. "If anything, the wage data are beginning to strengthen the argument for three more hikes this year".

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"Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers", Mr. Trump said, adding that he had instructed the United States trade representative to determine whether tariffs on an additional $100 billion in goods were warranted and, "if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs". A more volatile stock market? Prices for U.S. Treasuries rose. Economists did not see an impact on hiring in the near-term from a recent stock market selloff, which has caused a tightening in financial conditions.

Meanwhile, worker wages rose faster than economists had predicted, rising 0.3 per cent for the month to US$26.82 (S$35.35).

"The US economy is still maintaining a healthy pace of expansion", said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo.

Growth in the January-March period tends to be weak because of a seasonal quirk. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

Analysts say the USA labor market will remain strong, supported by major tax cuts and fiscal spending, despite worries about a trade dispute with China.

Unemployment held steady at 4.1 percent.

The world's biggest economy added 103,000 jobs in March.

While the average workweek for all private employees was unchanged at 34.5 hours in March, hours edged down for production and nonsupervisory workers, as well as those in manufacturing.

Temporary help, seen as a harbinger of future permanent hiring, slipped by 600. The average monthly job gain over the past six months has been 205,000, which is up from an average of 176,000 in the six months prior to that.


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