Employers created 103,000 jobs in March, the lowest amount of jobs created since last fall, and well below the 193,000 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting.
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March unemployment remained steady at 4.1%, whereas analysts were expecting unemployment would drop to 4.0%. At 4.1%, unemployment remains at a 17-year low.
Worker pay edged higher, with hourly wages up 0.3%, to $26.82.
Mike Loewengart, VP of Investment Strategy at E*Trade called the jobs report a “mixed bag.” “The headline number may disappoint but there’s more than meets the eye. Wages improved. Unemployment is still historically low. And high inflation fears seem to have dissipated, for now.”
Also, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down to 176,000 from 239,000 and the February change was revised up to 326,000 from 313,000. This means the U.S. still added an average of 202,000 jobs last month, faster than the average gains in 2017 and 2016.
The biggest jobs gains occurred in manufacturing, health care and white-collar jobs with 22,000 manufacturing positions created. Retail, however, fell, with 4,400 jobs lost during the month.