Jobs Added in March

US employers add 103000 jobs in March, fewest in 6 months

Job creation slowed precipitously or even reversed industrial sectors across the economy, which gave back some of the gains recorded in February's monster hiring spree.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for interest rate tracking website Bankrate.com, said that the March report from the US Labor Department, looked at in isolation, was "on the disappointing side".

Friday's report also showed that job growth in January was revised down slightly, to job gains of 176,000 from 239,000 to start the year, while February's data were revised slightly higher as 326,000 jobs are now estimated to have been created in the year's second month. The figure fell short of economists' estimate of a 193,000 increase. Economists expected average hourly earnings to rise 0.3% over the prior month and 2.7% over the prior year.

But the United States unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 per cent for the sixth month in a row and wages rose faster than expected.

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With layoffs at historic low levels, the sharp slowdown in job growth is likely to be temporary.

With labor market slack diminishing, wage growth picked up a bit in March.

Economists say annual wage growth of at least 3 percent is needed to lift inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent target. The gain lifted the annual increase in average hourly earnings to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in February.

Hiring has accelerated since last fall, defying expectations that a shortage of workers would make it harder for companies to fill open positions. Workers unemployed for less than 14 weeks decreased by 118,000, while the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, fell by 75,000 and accounted for 20.3% of the unemployed. Investors expected two more rate hikes this year.

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