In February, employers added a blockbuster 313,000 jobs, the largest monthly gain in 18 months. The national unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, maintaining the lowest level since December 2000.
Hiring was strong in manufacturing, healthcare and mining. Snowstorms in the Northeast probably restricted hours worked and kept people away from their jobs, and March may also have seen some payback after warmer temperatures boosted employment in February. This is also followed an upwardly revised 326,000 surge in February. Overall, the revisions lowered job gains in those two months by 50,000. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent after increasing 0.1 percent in February.
Another closely watched indicator unemployment rate was stable at 4.1 percent for sixth straight month.
This year, he said in an email, "It isn't out of the realm of possibilities that that we could see a jobless rate as low as 3.5%, last seen in 1969 when the Beatles were still cranking out hits". Tax cuts gave employers confidence in long-term investment; have tariffs and potential trade wars sapped that confidence and incentivized employers to hoard cash again?
On the corporate front, fashion retailer Urban Outfitters Inc (NASDAQ:URBN) dipped 1.5% to US$37.99 in pre-market trading after it was announced that David McCreight, the chief executive officer and president of the retailer's Anthropologie unit, would leave the company at the end of this month.
He added, "The upshot is that even though March was weaker than we were expecting, there is still evidence of an acceleration in the underlying pace of employment growth".
The Dow, which prior to the release had been expected to open at around 24,242, is now tipped to start proceedings at around 24,293, presumably on the basis that the Fed will now slow down its interest rate hike program. Average hourly earnings rose eight cents or 0.3 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent in February.
March was the 90th consecutive month of job growth, by far the longest streak on record.
The biggest jobs gains occurred in manufacturing, health care and white-collar jobs with 22,000 manufacturing positions created. "So, hiring gains should be slowing at this point in the expansion".
With available workers increasingly scarce, companies are going to greater lengths to find potential employees.
"Today's overall jobs number is a little bit of a pullback, but it wasn't a horrific report".