Job growth whiffs badly in March; unemployment rate falls to 4.5%

A fast food restaurant advertises for workers on its front window in Encinitas California U.S

A fast food restaurant advertises for workers on its front window in Encinitas California U.S

The U.S. unemployment rate fell in March to 4.5 percent, its lowest level in almost 10 years, but job creation tumbled unexpectedly, underscoring the challenges President Donald Trump faces to fulfill his 25-million-job pledge.

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".

Most analysts expect hiring to return to a pace closer to 178,000, the average monthly job gain for the past three months and close to the solid monthly average for 2016. The unemployment rate was the lowest since 2007, before the Great Recession hit.

"For the Fed, the unemployment rate is the ultimate arbiter of the tightness of the labor market, and the prospect of the rate continuing to fall towards four percent will be very disconcerting".

Hourly wages in March rose 0.2 percent, or 5 cents, from February - in line with expectation. a month prior, in line with the 0.2% that economists expected.

Mining saw a gain of 11,000 jobs, and health care added 14,000 jobs in March.

The city's unemployment rate stood at 7.7 per cent in March, according to Statistics Canada labour market survey numbers issued Friday. The figure was well off the 219,000 positions created in February.

Stats SA says the gain in employment in the December quarter was largely due to gains in the trade, business services and manufacturing sectors. The retail industry overall has lost 89,000 jobs since a recent high in October 2016. The private service-providing sector added 36,100 jobs.

The economic sectors that most drove total nonfarm employment growth in March included professional services (excluding temporary help, +45,500), and healthcare (+16,700).

Barrie's unemployment rate dipped slightly last month.

It was an off month for the labor market as struggling retailers employ fewer workers. They added just 16,000 net new jobs in March, the fewest in 15 months, after payrolls had increased by 66,000 in February.

Economists attribute some of the improvement in the participation rate to President Donald Trump's electoral victory last November, which might have caused some unemployed Americans to believe their job prospects would improve.

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