United States job creation tumbles in March; unemployment steady at 4.1 per cent

United States job creation tumbles in March; unemployment steady at 4.1 per cent

"Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents in March to $26.82, following a 3-cent gain in February", BLS Acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski said in releasing the report.

Analysts said the cold weather may have contributed to the slowdown, which was anticipated to some degree after February's blockbuster gains.

The March jobs report shows there were 103,000 jobs added in the month, though many economists expected something closer to an additional 175,000.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed. The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, slipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 62.9 percent in March after rising to a five-month high of 63.0 percent in February. The gain lifted the annual increase in average hourly earnings to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in February. 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. The unemployment rate had been expected to edge down to 4.0 percent.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, for a sixth straight month.

After Friday's numbers average jobs gains over the last three months now stand at 202,000.

However, wage growth picked up in March. There is hope that wage growth will accelerate in the second half of the year and allow the Fed to continue raising interest rates.

That was a slight acceleration from the previous month, but still below the rate of increase when the unemployment rate was last at this level. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

It's early yet, but Republicans need a long string of uninterrupted good economic news in order to counter the natural midterm backlash, along with other issues that are specific to this election cycle.

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