Hiring slows, but U.S. unemployment falls to 10-year low

Event: On a seasonally adjusted basis, total nonfarm employment increased by 98,000 and the unemployment rate fell by 20 basis points to a cycle low of 4.50% in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its monthly jobs report.

USA job growth slowed sharply last month, falling to its lowest level in almost a year, according to government figures.

An alternative unemployment measure, which includes involuntary part-time workers, fell to 8.9 percent, its lowest level since December 2007, when the Great Recession started.

Nationally, Canada's unemployment rate ticked up slightly in March to 6.7 per cent, from 6.6 per cent, driven by a rise in the number of people looking for work.

The number of people working and the unemployment rate are determined based on a survey of households, while the job-creation figures are calculated from payroll records provided by employers. For private-sector production workers and employees who aren't in supervisory positions, the average hourly wage rose to $21.90 - a 4-cent gain.

USA employers added 98,000 nonfarm payrolls in March, far fewer than forecast, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday. CNNMoney's survey of economists had predicted a healthy 187,000 jobs were added in March (that's actually the average monthly job gains achieved previous year under President Obama).

It its jobs report Friday, the government also revised down the job growth for January and February by a combined 38,000. That suggests an apparent slowdown in gross domestic product growth to around a 1.0 per cent annualised pace in the first three months of the year is temporary. The unemployment rate has been five percent or lower for well over a year. "Weak readings in the construction and retail sectors likely owed something to Winter Storm Stella", he said.

Goods-producing employment rose by 28,000 jobs during the month, as gains in mining led the way by adding 11,000 jobs. Poloz is widely expected to keep the rate at 0.5 per cent on Wednesday.

"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".

Amazon, which is gradually eating away at the entire retail industry, announced Thursday that it plans to add 30,000 new jobs over the next year, including 5,000 work-from-home customer service positions and 25,000 warehouse staffers.

  • Zachary Reyes