After months of pumping out new jobs at a steady clip, the world’s largest economy added only 98,000 net new positions last month, the Labour Department reported ― a figure far below analyst expectations.
Payroll growth was slowed by stormy weather in March after unusually good weather helped growth in January and February, according to economist Jed Kolko, of the job web site “Indeed”.
That’s up from 5.7 per cent for the same month past year, even though, at 46,900, there were 500 more people working last month.
The unemployment rate slid to 4.5 percent from 4.7% – its lowest rate since May 2007.
Average hourly wages climbed up to $26.14 and average weekly wages rose to $896.60 in March.
Jobless rates in neighboring and/or nearby counties in West Virginia in February include: Jackson County at 6.7 percent; Cabell County at 4.8 percent; Putnam County 5.1 percent; and Kanawha County at 5.4 percent.
In March, temperatures dropped and a storm lashed the Northeast, likely accounting for some of the stepback in hiring.
“March’s jobs report should serve as a stern warning to President Trump: Tweeting is not a strategy to create jobs for hard-working American families”, she said. The number of long-term unemployed – people who have been without a job for 27 weeks or longer – was little changed during the month at 1.7 million and accounted for 23.3 percent of the unemployed. Wages increased 2.7 per cent for the 12 months ended March 31. Retailers, suffering from the shift to online shopping, slashed 30,000 jobs.
Professional services and healthcare were primary drivers of employment gains, supported by strength in manufacturing (+11K) and natural resources & mining (+11K), which showed their fourth- and fifth-consecutive months of growth, respectively. At that time, the data base was much smaller than today.
Still, compared with its peak in the early 2000s, the manufacturing sector has about 630,000 fewer jobs, a drop of 27 per cent, Statistics Canada said. Health care, up 14,000, and the financial sector, up 9,000, also continued their upward trends.
The education and healthcare services category also saw the fewest new jobs in 15 months – possibly also indicating a sluggish economy.