US Economy Adds 196000 Jobs in March


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the economy added 196,000 jobs in March, a sharp bounce back from the 20,000 originally reported for February.

But employment has declined in health care and social assistance, business, building and other support services, and in accommodation and food services.

Average hourly wages rose four cents for the month, putting them up 3.2 percent over March of past year, more than twice the pace of consumer inflation over the same period.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.6 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (6.7 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little or no change in March. Total employment exceeded 18.9 million, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8%. The employment-population ratio was 60.6% in March and has been either 60.6% or 60.7% since October 2018. The March numbers came in above economists' expectations and much higher than the 100,000 benchmark that would have signaled employers capping growth.

Hospitals added 13,600 jobs in March, up more than 220% from February, a month in which hospital hiring was weak.

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Labour force numbers, which had been rising strongly along with jobs, also declined slightly in March, down by 11,300. Construction picked up 16,000 jobs in March after shedding 25,000 jobs a month earlier and, over the last 12 months, the industry has expanded by 246,000 jobs. "The six-month trend is still pretty strong".

For the Bank of Canada, the key area of today's report is likely wages, where growth was effectively unchanged at 2.3% y/y.

The decline in employment during March was focused mainly on full time and private sector employment.

Many experts had expected the surprise job-creation surge at the start of the year to lose momentum. Bars and restaurants added 27,000.