US Job Growth Slows Much More Than Expected In March

by Ben Pena April 7, 2018, 9:41
US Job Growth Slows Much More Than Expected In March

Monthly job creation in the worlds largest economy tumbled in March to its lowest level in six months, with employers adding only 103,000 net new positions, the government reported today.

With revisions for January and February that cut nonfarm payroll employment by 50,000 jobs, monthly employment gains have now averaged 202,000 over the past three months.

"Considering how tight the labor market is in terms of the unemployment rate and [slow] population growth, it's hard to maintain 200,000 jobs being added every month", said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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The new data from March follow strong job growth in February, when it was initially reported that USA companies had added 313,000 jobs - the biggest increase in 1 1/2 years. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours. Macroeconomic Advisers' most recent tracking estimate was 1.5 percent growth; the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's "GDPNow" forecasting model has it at 2.3 percent.

However, wage growth picked up in March. Workers unemployed for less than 14 weeks decreased by 118,000, while the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, fell by 75,000 and accounted for 20.3% of the unemployed.

Meanwhile, worker wages rose faster than economists had predicted, rising 0.3 per cent for the month to US$26.82 (S$35.35).

Economists say annual wage growth of at least 3 percent is needed to lift inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent target. Investors expected two more rate hikes this year. The gain lifted the annual increase in average hourly earnings to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in February. They can't afford multiple months of below-expectation job growth.

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