Losses lengthen after March jobs data jolt

A construction worker walked along One Dalton in Boston which is under construction
David L. Ryan Globe Staff A construction worker walked along One Dalton in Boston which is under construction
Author

08 April, 2018

"Overall, looking through the volatility, employment growth is trending higher and wage growth is starting to heat up", said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

Still, through the first three months of the year, employers have added an average of 202,000 workers to payrolls, outpacing 2017's average monthly growth of 182,000.

Friday's jobs report showed continued healthy gains in manufacturing and mining, two industries that Trump has sought to bolster and are also getting a boost from a stronger global economy and recovery in the oil and gas business.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent for the month, pushing the 12-month change up to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent, while the length of the average workweek held at 34.5 hours, just 0.1 hours below the peak of 34.6 hours last hit in January 2016. That was the smallest gain since last September and followed a 326,000 surge in February, which was the largest in more than two years.

Earlier, Economists had predicted 185,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in Friday's monthly update on the nation's economic health.

A broader measure of unemployment, which 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 two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.0 per cent last month.

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"Across the board, hiring is a challenge", Daniel said. If employers have made a strategic decision to slow hiring because of doubts about the future, that could signal a potential threat to the economic expansion. By June next year, it plans to pay half its employees' educational costs.

Some of the drop-off in hiring for March was likely weather-related, with late spring snowstorms blanketing the Northeast, closing construction sites and potentially postponing shopping trips.

Hotels and restaurants added just 4,300 workers, the fewest in six months.

Construction shed 15,000 jobs and retail trade employment dipped by 4,000. 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. In March, the Fed announced to raised interest rate to a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, marking the sixth time since the financial crisis that it has raised rates.

Rather, there has been gradual improvement underway for many years that continues apace.

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.


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