U.S. unemployment down, but job growth cools

USA payroll gains slowed sharply in March, while the unemployment rate dropped to a near 10-year low, suggesting the labor market was still tightening.

Earlier today, Labor Department announced data regarding United States job growth showing signs of slowing down, while the unemployment rate is now at 4.5 percent, a almost 10-year low.

The government also revised down the job growth for January and February by a combined 38,000. The increases have averaged 178,000 a month during the past three months. Economists believe an unemployment rate of 4-5 percent represents full employment - as in, anyone who wants a job has one.

Meanwhile, hourly pay increased 2.7% over 12 months, down from the 2.8% recorded in February. while the average U.S. workers worked a total of 34.3 hours per week, unchanged from the previous month.

People of Hispanic and Latino ethnicities saw the biggest drop in unemployment rates from February (5.6 percent) to March (5.1 percent).

Employment growth unexpectedly slowed in March, hurt in part by job losses in the retail industry.

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Prior to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent report, analysts at Goldman Sachs estimated that if not for the weather, 60,000 more jobs could have been added to the final total.

The survey that counts people with jobs offered other encouraging news: The number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time work fell. The retail trade sector lost 30,000 jobs.

London's unemployment rate has fallen for the second straight month. In March, sectors that fared well included business and professional services, mining, and health care services. That corresponds to a bit under 1 percent real wage growth.

However, Statistics Canada's job survey Friday also showed the bulk of those new positions were created in the more precarious category of self-employment, which can include people working for a family business without pay.

A survey on Wednesday showed a measure of services sector employment slipping in March, but remaining at a level consistent with growing payrolls.

That summary hides a varying trend during that time: unemployment was relatively low for most of Labour's stint, but rose considerably during the recession in the late noughties.

  • Rita Burton