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US Adds 103000 Jobs in March, Below Forecasts

07 April 2018

Wage growth remained muted, with average hourly earnings rising 2.6 percent.

Job creation since then has been in line with analysts' expectations, with the latest gains driven mostly by the hiring of full-time staff. The labour force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, slipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 62.9 per cent in March after rising to a five-month high of 63.0 per cent in February.

Another closely watched indicator unemployment rate was stable at 4.1 percent for sixth straight month. Other economists had the number closer to 200,000 jobs.

Manufacturing and healthcare industries each added 22000 jobs in March while Business services gained 33000.

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The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down from +239,000 to +176,000, and the change for February was revised up from +313,000 to +326,000.

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

Snowstorms and floods in the northeast are likely to have played a part in the weaker gain in March, with jobs in the construction sector falling by 15,000.

Job growth slowed down sharply in March, but unemployment remained at its lowest level in over a decade. Employment increased in manufacturing, health care, and mining. The construction industry, often a key contributor to USA workforce growth, lost 15,000 jobs for the month. Growth this year is seen bolstered by a $1.5 trillion income tax cut package and increased government spending, which economists say will offset some of the impact from the stock market's gyrations.

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In March, employment increased for women aged 25 to 54 years while it fell for men in this core population. "Weather appears to have been a factor in both February [on the plus side] and March [on the negative side]".

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that such measures "suggest a labor market that is in the neighborhood of maximum employment", meaning that few workers are still on the sidelines and a further decline in the unemployment rate could raise inflation. Treasury yields were little changed.

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US Adds 103000 Jobs in March, Below Forecasts