Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

US Created 98000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Falls to 4.5 Percent

US Created 98000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Falls to 4.5 Percent

March's job gains were driven by professional business services (56,000), food and drinking places (21,700), health care (14,000), mining (11,000), and manufacturing (11,000). This looks at "people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks".

Construction companies added just 6,000 jobs in March, the fewest in seven months.

Don't be fooled by the bad headline number: the March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was pretty good-but only pretty good.

March's jobs data could help address one question: Has hiring noticeably accelerated from last year's average of about 185,000?

OTTAWA-The nation's labour market pumped out another 19,400 net jobs last month - and the vast majority of the new work was full-time.

Retail trade employment dropped by 30,000 in March, likely due to the end of the holiday shopping season. Average hourly earnings rose only 0.2% on the month, as expected, and unchanged from February, and were up 2.7% on the year. Combined with seasonality factors like weather and the reset in the retail sector, Lynch said full-year economic growth is still set for a "modest" 2.3% annualized rate, and he doesn't expect to see a big hit to first-quarter GDP growth. It's also down markedly from gains of 219,000 in February and 216,000 in January.

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January and February were revised downward.

The consensus of experts surveyed by Bloomberg in advance of the report had forecast a gain of 178,000 jobs.

"The Category 3 storm that swept the Northeast may explain a much weaker-than-expected 98,000 increase in March nonfarm payrolls", Econoday wrote in reaction.

David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, told The Wall Street Journal that the March jobs report "calls into question the robustness of the recovery and the markets are interpreting it to mean the Fed rate hike cycle will be more muted and take longer".

The number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs declined. A gain of 98,000 isn't even a maintenance level of job creation in relation to population growth, which requires between 135K-150K jobs added each month. The unemployment rate decreased slightly from February, ticking down from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent. But wage growth has been relatively flat since the recession despite the steady increase in jobs.

Economists attribute some of the improvement in the participation rate to President Donald Trump's electoral victory last November, which might have caused some unemployed Americans to believe their job prospects would improve. Women made up almost all those who gained jobs, with the unemployment rate for adult men unchanged, at a still-low 4.3 percent.

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