Business

Suspiciously Pessimistic March Jobs Report

Suspiciously Pessimistic March Jobs Report”

"Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March with the three-month average at a solid 202,000 jobs".

The unemployment rate, which had been expected to dip to 4.0%, remained at a 17-year low of 4.1%. Employers have added a healthy average of 211,000 jobs a month in the past six months.

US employers added a modest 103,000 jobs in March after several months of bigger gains, though the government's jobs report suggests the labor market remains healthy.

"Even though March was weaker than we were expecting, there is still evidence of an acceleration in the underlying pace of employment growth", Paul Ashworth, chief USA economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

Though the economy likely slowed in the first three months of this year, economists expect growth will rebound in the coming months.

Just over half an hour before the release of the market-moving non-farm payrolls report, the Dow Jones average, which rose 241 points yesterday to close at 24,505, was expected to open at around 24,242.

The job figures come as concern grows about a trade war between United States and China.

Wage data came in in-line with expectations, however, as average hourly earnings rose 0.3% over the prior month and 2.7% over the prior year. 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. Economists do not see an impact on hiring in the near-term from the stock market selloff, which has caused a tightening in financial conditions. Despite the slowdown in job growth in March, steady wage gains should support consumer spending amid signs gross domestic product growth moderated in the first quarter. The table below shows that the unemployment rate for men with a disability has dropped by 3 percentage points since the President took office, from 12.0 to 9.0 percent, while women with a disability have reported a decline of 2.6 percentage points, from 11.5 to 8.9 percent. Growth in the January-March period tends to be weak for seasonal reasons. 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.

Analysts say the U.S. labor market will remain strong, supported by major tax cuts and fiscal spending, despite worries about a trade dispute with China.

The unemployment rate has hovered at 4.1 per cent since October as people piled into the labor market.

For example, a rising number of working-age Americans have begun looking for a job and finding one, reversing a trend from the first few years after the recession when numerous unemployed grew discouraged and stopped looking for work.

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



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