Jobs Added in March

Applicants line up for the opening of the job fair held by Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta on March 27

Manufacturing added 22,000 jobs, with all of the gains in the durable goods component, and healthcare added the same amount.

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 nation's unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.1 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the economy adding 193,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropping to 4.0 percent.

The proportion of adults in their prime working years, defined as ages 25 to 54, who are either working or looking for work jumped to 82.2 percent in February, up one-half of 1 percentage point from a year earlier.

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

The number of jobs added in March was sharply down from the upwardly revised 326,000 for February.

And last month, factories expanded at a healthy pace after having grown in February at the fastest rate since 2004, according to a private survey.

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. Still, the expansion has been puzzlingly slow, with economic growth averaging just 2.2 percent a year, about a percentage point below the historical average.

According to Friday's announcement, wages were up across the country in March.

Average hourly earnings for employees on nonfarm payrolls increased 8 cents to $26.82. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

Employment growth has occurred in many regions across the province; year-over-year increases include Stratford-Bruce Peninsula (7.3 per cent), Toronto (3.4 per cent) and Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula (2.3 per cent).

Economists say annual wage growth of at least 3 percent is needed to lift inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent target.

Wage growth accelerated slightly. Unless the issues get resolved quickly, we may be seeing a stasis in job creation that could hamper the positive impact of the administration's other economic policies, especially the tax cuts. If this extends for more than a month, it's going to set up some unpleasant expectations for November.

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