Jobs report: U.S. workforce grew by 103000 in March

Dianna Christensen
April 7, 2018

Figures for January and February were revised, subtracting 50,000 jobs from the first two months of the year.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics, which released the figures, said that the number of new jobs averaged 201,000 over the first quarter, an improvement on the 182,000 past year.

USA employers added just 103,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said Friday, the fewest in six months. The figure fell far short of predictions and followed a blockbuster February that saw 326,000 jobs added. Milder-than-usual weather in February had bolstered construction payrolls, but in March that partially reversed. In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.82. Retailers also eliminated 4,000 jobs.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index were set to open sharply lower in Friday trades, taking their cut from the president's new announcement he may slap China with tariffs on another $100 billion of goods.

The low unemployment rate may also be making it hard to find workers, they said.

The unemployment rate hovered at 4.1 percent.

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"Eventually, we'll have to get used to monthly [job] gains of ~100,000 or less", Kolko added. "Those environments make it tough to set policy".

Earlier, Economists had predicted 185,000 jobs.

"This morning's figures may suggest a little less momentum heading into the second quarter, but taken with other data, the continued expansion in total hours worked points to a modest acceleration in activity this quarter, provided we manage to avoid shooting ourselves in the foot on trade policy", said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in NY. Job openings are at a record high and big and small firms alike say they plan to add more workers.

By industry, the largest gains were seen in education and health services as well as professional and business services, the two areas that are most often leaders in terms of monthly job gains.

The labor participation rate edged down last month, while the share of working-age population that is employed held steady. Many economists, and of course workers, are looking for earnings to accelerate in the near future.

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