9:55 AM, Apr 6, 2018 — Nonfarm payroll employment growth continued in March with the manufacturing, mining and health care sectors seeing some of the biggest increases in employment while the jobless rate remained unchanged.
Some 103,000 roles were added to total nonfarm payroll employment in March compared to 326,000 roles added in February, according to data published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 185,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1% for the sixth consecutive month and average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.82.
At 1.3 million, the number of long-term unemployed -those out of work for 27 weeks or more- was little changed in March and accounted for 20.3% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 338,000.
Employment in manufacturing rose by 22,000, with all of the gain in the durable goods component. Employment in fabricated metal products increased over the month by 9,000. Health care added 22,000 jobs, about in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months and employment in mining increased by 9,000 in March, with gains occurring in support activities for mining and in oil and gas extraction.
In other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, employment changed little over the month
“After red-hot hiring in February, a slowdown in March does not come as a surprise. It is also worth noting that typically payrolls in March disappoint on average by -48K, the most next to May” Leslie Preston, a senior economist at TD Economics, said. “Smoothing the hiring trend over a few months shows a healthy pace of job gains. The fact that the unemployment rate remained at its low 4.1% level, and wage growth accelerated, are better indicators of the health of the US labor market.”
“While some might be a bit disappointed by the modest headline hiring tally, we are inclined to discount it. Continued progress in wage growth should give the FOMC the green light to continue to raise rates at a gradual pace. We expect two more 25 basis point hikes in 2018, but if inflation starts surprising to the upside there is certainly an upside risk to this view,” Preston added.