US Economy Adds 196000 Jobs in March

Canada's economy gained jobs for several months in a row up until March

The world's largest economy added 196,000 net new positions for the month, well above expectations, while the jobless rate held steady at 3.8 percent, according to the Labor Department.

The March job numbers mark a big rebound from last month when payrolls increased by a paltry 20,000 even though the unemployment rate fell - the worst month for job creation since September 2017. On average, jobs rose 180,000 per month in Q1, a bit milder than the 233,000 per month in the prior quarter.

While the number of people working part-time for economic reasons rose slightly from the recovery low hit in February, it is down by nearly 10 percent from its year-ago level. The Labor Department reported a drop of about 10,000 in jobless claims, bring the overall number to roughly 202,000, the lowest number on record since December 6, 1969.

Non-farm payroll employment increased by 196,000 in March, compared with a consensus estimate of 170,000.

The labor force participation rate, at 63 percent, was little changed over the month and has shown little movement over the past 12 months.

Nursing and residential care facilities added 8,500 jobs in March, up significantly from just 1,100 new jobs in February. Computer systems design added 12,000 jobs during the month.

Employment in construction showed little change in March (+16,000) but has increased by 246,000 over the past 12 months.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.

While the job growth figure for March is healthy, there is some evidence that wage growth might actually be slowing in spite of the relatively tight labor market.

Average hourly earnings also benefited in March.

Y/y growth in average weekly earnings was up slightly, from 3.1% in February to 3.2% in March. This increase was driven by a 0.8 percentage point jump in the EPOP for men between the ages of 25 to 34 to 86.5 percent, 1.0 percentage point above the year-ago level.

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