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March US job growth slower than expected

07 April, 2018, 14:01 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • President Trump has focused heavily on tariffs which worries some employers

Construction employment was the biggest loser in March, declining by 15,000 after a strong 65,000 jobs were added to the sector in February.

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. For the entire first quarter, job growth has averaged about 202,000 a month, enough to keep up with the growing workforce population - and then some.

The report also said the unemployment rate came in at 4.1 percent in March, unchanged from the five previous months.

"If one were to only focus on this single month, the March employment report is on the disappointing side", said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, according to CNBC, "Broader context is appropriate, however". Those people include workers who had previously reported a disability, he added. Overtime in Manufacturing edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.6 hours. The gain lifted the annual increase in average hourly earnings to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in February.


Economists on Friday suggested there are a number of possible reasons for the hiring slow down.

But he also noted that "other measures continue to suggest" that there are more workers available than the unemployment rate might indicate. "If anything, the wage data are beginning to strengthen the argument for three more hikes this year". So far, President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese goods, and Beijing has said it would respond commensurately if that happened. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies and US Treasury prices 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. Non-durable goods broke even on jobs, with no net gain.

The total non-farm job gain of 103,000 was below the estimate of 193,000 of economists surveyed by Reuters. "It stood at 62.9 percent in March, slightly higher than January's 62.7 percent".

A robust labor market is likely to keep the USA economy growing through next year, with recent tax cuts and higher government spending adding to the tailwind. The unemployment rate had been expected to edge down to 4.0 percent. Economists had expected 185,000 jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate. Within that category, motorized vehicles and parts added 3300 jobs. Government payrolls rose by 1,000 in March.

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