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US Job Growth Accelerates in March

H.S. Borji
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US Job Growth Accelerates in March

US employers continued to hire at a robust pace in March, a sign the world’s largest economy was gaining momentum after an unusually harsh winter.

Employers added 192,000 payrolls last month, after a revised 197,000 increase in February, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. A panel of economists surveyed by Reuters forecast an increase of 200,000 last month. Government data were in line with the earlier ADP estimate, which showed private payrolls increased by 191,000.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7 percent as more workers entered the labour market.

January nonfarm payrolls were revised upward from 129,000 to 144,000. The initial February estimate was 175,000, government data showed.

Employment growth over the past two months surpassed the 2013 monthly average of 189,000, a sign employers were ramping up after a weather-induced slowdown. The labour force participation rate, which monitors the numbers of workers employed or actively searching for work, rose to a six month high of 63.2 percent in February. The participation rate was little changed in March.

Average hourly earnings for private payroll employees were unchanged in March. Economists expected earnings to increase 0.2 percent after rising 0.4 percent the previous month. Compared to the previous 12 months, average hourly earnings were 2.1 percent higher, official data showed.

The steady pace of job creation in February and March should allow the Federal Reserve to move forward with stimulus cuts, a process that was first initiated in December. While the jobless rate has been de-emphasized in recent months, strong employment data reaffirms the central bank’s plan of eliminating monetary easing this year. However, existing slack in the labour market should keep interest rates at record lows until sometime next year.

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