US Adds 103000 Jobs in March, Below Forecasts

Randall Padilla
April 8, 2018

However, wage growth picked up in March. And the government's jobs report suggested that the labor market remains fundamentally healthy.

Businesses added 241,000 jobs in March, with construction, manufacturing and transportation leading the growth, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday in a separate estimate. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent after increasing 0.1 percent in February. "A payback from strong February job gains is more to blame", Levy added.

Edward Daniel, chief executive of Metropolitan Health Services, says he's raised pay and sweetened benefits to try to fill his 740-person company's roughly 80 open jobs.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Last month's modest job gain could indicate some employers want to hire more but are struggling to find the workers they need.

"The unemployment rate was unchanged in March, sticking at 4.1% for a sixth consecutive month". The Fed increased borrowing costs last month and forecast two more interest rate hikes this year.

This year, he said in an email, "It isn't out of the realm of possibilities that we could see a jobless rate as low as 3.5 percent, last seen in 1969 when the Beatles were still cranking out hits".

"The declaration by Trump that he has instructed the US Trade Representative to consider another $100 billion of tariffs under section 301 has once again sent markets lower, although not as much as previous tariff announcements have", noted Craig Erlam at online trading platform operator Oanda. Meanwhile, the labor force fell by 158,000 in March, pushing the participation rate down to 62.9 percent.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part time because they can not find full-time employment, fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.0 percent last month.

Analysts said that the cold weather may have contributed to the slowdown.

"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. Manufacturing employment increased 22,000. Retailers shed 4,400. Hotels and restaurants added just 4,300 workers, the fewest in six months.

Construction companies cut 15,000 jobs, the sharpest monthly drop in three years, after five months of gains. Excluding the addition of 1,000 workers from government payrolls, the private sector added just 102,000 for March.

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