ibusinesslines.com May 22, 2018

March Jobs Report: Where the Jobs Are (and Aren't)

20 April 2017, 07:19 | Kelvin Horton

March Jobs Report: Where the Jobs Are (and Aren't)

A worker assembles a semi trailer on the factory floor at the Wabash National Corp. manufacturing facility in Lafayette Indiana

A decline in retail employment was a key factor that kept job growth low in March, with the sector losing 30,000 jobs for the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Overall job growth in March was well below the 219,000 figure from the previous month. That number seems small on the surface, but average hourly earnings have risen by 68 cents (a gain of 2.7%) from a year ago.

In its report Friday, the government also revised down the job growth for January and February by a combined 38,000.

How did the unemployment rate manage to drop so much when the job gain was so weak?

The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent, its lowest level in almost a decade.

Aberdeen Asset Management investment strategist Luke Bartholomew said the decline in job creation was another sign of a "pretty tight" labour market.

"Even if payrolls are slowing down, I'm not sure that that means the labor market is weakening", Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC, told Bloomberg. Many analysts blame the blizzard for the slowdown but some fear the demand for new construction could be weakening.

The Labor Department on Thursday also said continuing unemployment claims, reflecting benefits drawn by workers for longer than a week, decreased by 24,000 to 2,028,000 in the week ended March 25.

Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed, or those without work for more than 26 weeks, has fallen by 526,000.

Barrie's unemployment rate dipped slightly last month. March figures are being watched closely because this could be the payback month.

"We suspect the three-month average job gain of 178,000 is more indicative of the underlying trend in job growth", J.P. Morgan economist Michael Feroli said.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent, the lowest since May 2007, from 4.7 percent in February. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

Weather-related disruptions to the economy could have slowed hiring in March, and employers could be finding it more hard to fill job openings as labor market slack diminishes.

The number of people unemployed in the United Kingdom and the unemployment rate were both higher when Labour left office in 2010 than when it came to power in 1997.

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