Author: Tronserve admin
Tuesday 3rd August 2021 08:43 AM
Hiring Rebounds as U.S. Employers Add a Solid 196,000 Jobs
Hiring rebounded in March as U.S. employers added a solid 196,000 jobs, up sharply from February's scant gain and evidence that many businesses still want to employ in spite of signs that the economy is slowing down.
The unemployment rate stayed at 3.8%, near the lowest level in almost 50 years, the Labor Department reported Friday. Wage growth slowed a bit in March, with regular hourly pay increasing 3.2% from a year earlier. That was down from February's year-over-year gain of 3.4%, that was the best in a decade.
The figures reported Friday suggest that February's anemic job growth — revised to 33,000, from an initial 20,000 — was merely a temporary blip and that businesses are confident the economy will remain on a firm footing. Besides the current expansion nearly 10 years old, the U.S. economy is showing strength.
On the other hand, the economy is facing various challenges, from cautious consumers to slower growth in business investment to a U.S.-China trade war that is contributing to a weakening global economy.
So far this year, job gains have averaged 180,000 a month, easily sufficient to lower the unemployment rate over time, though down from a 223,000 average last year.
In March, job growth was strongest in the service sector. Health care added 61,000 jobs, restaurants and bars 27,000 and professional and business services, which includes high-paying areas such as for example engineering and accounting, added 37,000. Manufacturers cut 6,000 jobs, while construction added 16,000.
The overall economy is sending mixed signals. Most indicators suggest slower growth this year compared with 2018. That would imply that hiring might also weaken from last year's strong pace.
In February, businesses added a interestingly low 20,000 jobs, the fewest in about a year and a half, however that pullback likely reflected extreme weather and other temporary factors. Another weak jobs report Friday, though, would fuel concerns about a downshift in growth.
Customers have revealed alert so far this year. Retail sales fell in February, and a bigger measure of consumer spending slipped in January, perhaps highlighting a waning effect of the Trump administration's tax cuts. Businesses have also reined in their expenses on industrial machinery and other equipment and on factories and other buildings.
And in Europe and Asia, weaker economies have reduced demand for U.S. exports. Europe is on the verge of slump, with its factories shrinking in March at the fastest pace in six years, according to a private survey.
The U.S. trade war with China has weighed on the Chinese economy, which has weakened Southeast Asian nations that ship electronic components and other goods that are assembled into consumer products in China's factories.
Economists now estimate that the U.S. economy will increase roughly 2% to 2.5% this year, down from 2.9% last year. However, most economists have predict a bounce-back in hiring in March to about 170,000 added jobs, according to data provider FactSet. The jobless rate is anticipated to remain near a half-century low of 3.8%.
Some good signals for the economy have emerged in recent weeks: Sales of both new and existing homes rose in February after turning down last year. More Americans are applying for mortgages now that rates have fallen.
And some of the weakness in spending earlier this year possibly reflected delays in issuing tax refunds because of the government shutdown. Refunds largely caught up with their pace in previous years in March, economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said, advising that spending may as well.
The low unemployment rate and stable hiring have likewise raised Americans' paychecks. Average wages grew 3.4% in February in comparison with a year ago, the fastest such pace since the recession.
If pay growth continues to accelerate, it should power more spending and boost the economy in the following months.
This article is originally posted on manufacturing.net