Hiring rebounded last month as employers added 196,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls, according to the Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The report beat economists’ predictions of 175,000 jobs added. It also allayed fears of a slowing economy after February’s tally of 33,000 jobs (adjusted upward from 20,000 jobs in the initial report). The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent.
Average hourly earnings increased 4 cents to $27.70 in March, after increasing 10 cents in February. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in pay for employed U.S. workers, showed that wages grew 1.0 percent year-over-year for Q4 2018. But real wages — the buying power of workers’ pay, with inflation taken into account — are currently 9 percent lower than in 2006.
“We think the labor market is the strongest thing in the U.S. economy right now,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust, speaking with The New York Times. “We’re encouraged by the wage gains.”
However, other economists cautioned that growth might not last.
“We’re talking about an economy that’s slowing,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, per NPR. “But for now, it should be another good year, where workers finally get to reap the benefits of a very long marathon of an expansion.”
Where Jobs Are Growing
The following industries added jobs last month:
- Health care (+49,000 jobs)
- Professional and technical services (+34,000 jobs)
- Food service and drinking places (+27,000 jobs)
- Construction (+16,000 jobs)
Manufacturing shed 6,000 jobs in March. Other industries were largely unchanged for the month, including wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, mining, information, financial activities and government.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s your take on this report? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.