3 things to know about the March 2019 jobs report

BLS jobs report 4

Job growth rebounded in March after an unexpectedly slow February.

The U.S. economy added just 196,000 jobs in March, outpacing the median estimate of 170,000, and a considerable increase February’s revised count of 33,000, according to The New York Times

Here are some of the highlights from the report.

1. Job growth bounced back

While some saw February’s unexpectedly low job growth as potentially indicative of an approaching economic slowdown, last month’s more robust growth has largely restored confidence.

The Washington Post: “The low level of hiring in February now seems like an anomaly, possibly been caused by employers’ hesi­ta­tion to bring on new employees in the deep of winter and an economic hangover from the lengthy government shutdown.”

MarketWatch: “The rebound in hiring might temper unease about the economy after a rocky start in 2019. Although a spate of large companies have announced layoffs recently, most firms are still looking to hire. One of their chronic complaints: A shortage of skilled labor.”

CNN: “While March hiring was robust, it brings the first-quarter average to 180,000 jobs created per month, down from 223,000 per month on average in 2018. Economists have been expecting a slowdown, and so far it looks gradual enough to support the idea that the economy may glide to a lower level of activity in 2019 rather than shudder to a halt.”

2. Wages continued to climb

The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8 percent, which indicates increased competition among employers vying for skilled workers. This has been pushing the average wages up for several months, and March continued that trend.

Fox Business: “Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 4 cents to $27.70, following a 10-cent gain in February. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by about 3.2 percent, missing expectations of 3.4 percent growth.”

The New York TImes: “The new report also showed steady wage growth, building on recent momentum for employee pay. For years, even as the economy added jobs and unemployment kept falling, wage increases were lackluster. But employees now appear to be getting solid raises. […] With the jobless rate at a historic low, employers have to offer higher wages and more attractive benefits to lure workers.”

USA Today: “Wage growth has picked up as employers compete for a dwindling supply of available workers. The faster pay increases haven’t yet prompted most companies to pass their rising labor costs to consumers through higher prices, keeping inflation subdued.”

3. Most industries saw job growth

While hiring was down in nearly every major industry during February, most industries returned to growth in March. Manufacturing was the exception, however, losing 6,000 jobs this month.

CNBC: “Health care led with 49,000 new workers, professional and technical services added 34,000 and food and drinking establishments contributed 27,000. Construction rose by 16,000 but manufacturing saw 6,000 jobs lost.”

Bloomberg: “Payroll gains were led by education and health services as well as professional and business services. Construction payrolls rebounded with a 16,000 gain while manufacturing continued to weaken with a loss of 6,000 jobs, the first decline since mid-2017.”


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