Published: Sun, April 07, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

America Created 196,000 Jobs in March, Beating Expectations for 170,000

America Created 196,000 Jobs in March, Beating Expectations for 170,000

The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday.

Average hourly wages rose four cents for the month, putting them up 3.2 percent over March of past year, more than twice the pace of consumer inflation over the same period.

The consensus estimate called for 180,000 new jobs in February on the heels of 311,000 job gains in January. The March numbers suggest that the February slip may have been an isolated event rather than the beginning of a trend, according to WSJ.

The gain comes a month after the Labor Department revised the February numbers to 33,000 from the previous number of 20,000.

Last week's applications for unemployment benefits came in at 202,000, the lowest level in almost 50 years. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.

Job growth in the USA has averaged 180,000 new positions a month so far this year, which is a healthy number but below last year's monthly average of 223,000.

Overall, healthcare employment has increased by 398,000 jobs in the last 12 months, according to the bureau. Over the month, employment increased in ambulatory health care services (+27,000), hospitals (+14,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000).

March saw a modest decline in retail jobs, which took losses of almost 12,000. In March, computer systems design and related services added 12,000 jobs.

For Canada, the jobless rate stayed the same at 5.8 per cent. That's still solid though below the 233,000 average monthly gain for all of 2018.

Still, observers expressed confidence that the month-to-month bounce back is a positive sign.

Notably, the USA labor force participation rate among people 25 to 54 years of age remained at 82.5%.

The US is now enjoying one of its longest-lasting labor market expansions on record.

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