US Economy Adds 196000 Jobs in March

Following two consecutive monthly increases, employment in Ontario held steady in March, down by 8,800, hampered by a loss of 11,600 full-time jobs; the unemployment rate in the province rose to 5.9% in March from 5.7% in February.

The government reports notable gains in jobs related to health care and in professional and technical services.

The unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent in March, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.2 million.

Job growth in the United States rebounded after a small gain in February, easing the concerns of a significant slowdown in the job market.

"So after a run of six consecutive employment gains, in which almost 300K jobs were added to the total, it was little surprise to see a modest give-back of 7K in March". The unemployment rate held firm at 5.8 per cent. The March numbers came in above economists' expectations and much higher than the 100,000 benchmark that would have signaled employers capping growth.

"We got a little dip in employment, but the numbers are volatile and it's been on a pretty strong run over the prior half year", said Nathan Janzen, senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in 49 years last week. "In 2018, employment gains averaged 223,000 per month", said William Beach, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Manufacturing employment changed little for the second month in a row (-6,000 in March, following +1,000 in February).

Following the jobs report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 29.45 points, or 0.11%, to 26,414. Employment in food services and drinking places trended up last month, adding 27,000 jobs.

Everywhere else, the job market was flat The monthly decline comes on the heels of the best two-month start to the year for Canada's job market in nearly 40 years, with 66,800 new jobs in January and 55,900 in February.

Restaurants and bars also did a lot of hiring last month, adding 27,000 positions.

  • Wendy Palmer