U.S. job creation tumbles in March; unemployment steady at 4.1%

US employers add 103000 jobs in March, fewest in 6 months

After reporting a substantial increase in US employment in the previous month, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing job growth slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of March.

The nation's unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.1 percent.

Economists had been expecting a payrolls gain of 193,000 and the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth of a point to 4 percent. "The job market is widely regarded to be close to full employment". Economists expected average hourly earnings to rise 0.3% over the prior month and 2.7% over the prior year.

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However, wage growth picked up in March. In March, the Fed announced to raised interest rate to a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, marking the sixth time since the financial crisis that it has raised rates.

The jobs numbers are closely watched by Federal Reserve policymakers.

Average hourly wages rose, climbing 2.7 percent compared with a year earlier, the department said.

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With layoffs at historic low levels, the sharp slowdown in job growth is likely to be temporary.

Hiring has accelerated since last fall, defying expectations that a shortage of workers would make it harder for companies to fill open positions.

Manufacturing added 22,000 jobs, with all of the gains in the durable goods component, and healthcare added the same amount.

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Meanwhile, worker wages rose faster than economists had predicted, rising 0.3 per cent for the month to US$26.82 (S$35.35). Investors expected two more rate hikes this year. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter. If markets continue to roil over tariff battles, the capital that might have otherwise gone into job creation might get set aside - or may evaporate altogether, at least in the short run.

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