U.S. Job Growth Eased in March Unemployment Steady at 4.1%

The Labor Department released its official hiring and unemployment figures for March last Friday, providing the latest evaluation of the American economy.

February’s report was positive as companies added jobs at the strongest pace since 2015, and the labor force escalated. The report for March wasn’t as strong as the report of February but is still on a positive side to the American economy.

by far the longest streak on record. Employers have added an average of just over 200,000 jobs per month so far in 2018, a pace that has held relatively steady for the past two years. The unemployment rate is still at 4.1% and hasn’t shifted since October, yet remains at its lowest level since 2000.

In addition to the payrolls news, the average hourly earnings figure rose 0.3% against estimates of 0.2%.

As for the fundamentals, Dan North, chief economist for Euler Hermes North America reported that the economic data is still optimistic. The slowdown in March wasn’t a surprise. February’s job growth was probably inflated by a surge in hiring in construction and the retail sector that reflected unseasonably warm weather in much of the country. Both sectors slumped in March as winter storms blew through the eastern United States.

The markets fell after a report of unexpectedly strong wage growth in January led to fears of inflation, and the interest-rate hikes it could bring.

The rise in wages was sufficient to suggest that the job market remains healthy, but probably not big enough to force the Federal Reserve to reconsider its policy of gradual rate increases. The central bank is expected to hike its interest rate in June and at least once more before the end of the year. The Fed is keeping an especially close eye on wages for signs of inflation.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the Dow Jones industrial average, and the Nasdaq composite index all closed more than 1.7% higher, driven by gains across all sectors.