US jobs rebound but wage growth slows


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US companies added 196,000 jobs in March, marking a significant rebound from poor growth in February.

The US non-farm payroll figure for March was ahead of analysts’ forecasts, and much stronger than the 33,000 jobs created the month before.

February’s figure was revised up from the initial reading of 20,000, but remains a 17-month low.

Earnings data showed that the annual rate of wage increases slowed to 3.2% in March, down from 3.4% in February.

‘Mixed report’

The employment figure beat expectations of a rise of between 170,000 and 180,000 jobs. The healthcare sector saw jobs rise, but the retail and manufacturing sectors both saw declines.

Some 6,000 jobs were lost in manufacturing, the first decline in the sector since July 2017.

Car companies have been cutting thousands of jobs, including General Motors which is cutting about 14,000 workers.

Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, said it was a “mixed report”.

“The headline was a little bit better than expected, February was revised up slightly, but obviously the average hourly earnings was a big disappointment.”

The unemployment rate remained at 3.8% for a second month.

Last month, the US Federal Reserve indicated that it did not expect to raise interest rates for the rest of 2019 amid slower economic growth.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Overall, these data won’t change anyone’s mind about whether the Fed ultimately will have to hike this year.

“The payroll gain is welcome but one month does not prove that the trend remains close to 200,000, and doves will point to the modest average hourly earnings gain as evidence that the Fed’s ‘patient’ stance is justified.”


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