Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

City's unemployment rate 7.7 per cent

City's unemployment rate 7.7 per cent

The national unemployment rate moved down to 4.5%.

The Labor Department said Friday the unemployment rate fell to 4.5% in March but the US economy added just 98,000 jobs, missing the 180,000 forecast.

The number of jobs created in February was revised down from 235,000 to 219,000, while the figure for January was revised down from 238,000 to 216,000.

The country had been averaging 236,500 new jobs a month in 2017.

A broad measure of unemployment, that includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell to 8.9 percent, the lowest level since December 2007, from 9.2 percent in February.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing 180,000 last month and the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.7 per cent. Manufacturing firms grew their payrolls by 11,000 jobs, less than half the 26,000 jobs they added the previous month.

Overall, the USA added 98,000 jobs in March compared with a revised 219,000-job gain the previous month. Retail jobs fell by 30,000 and construction was up just 6,000 after a gain of 59,000 in February.

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"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.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, rose by 4,500 to 250,000 last week.

The largest employment growth in March occurred in professional and business services, adding 56,000 jobs over the month. Retailers slashed their payrolls by almost 30,000, after cutting about 31,000 jobs in February.

Despite the decline, Meigs County held steady in second place out of 88 counties, in terms of having the highest unemployment rate in the state.

The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed USA workers, forecast 3.2 percent year-over-year wage growth for Q1 2017. Other sectors of note include health care (+14,000) and financial services (+9,000).

It was an off month for the labor market as struggling retailers employ fewer workers.

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.

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