USA economy added 103000 jobs in March, a sharp drop from February

Daniel Fowler
April 8, 2018

Earlier, Economists had predicted 185,000 jobs.

The market's switchback ride continued on Friday with Thursday's rally followed by a massive shake-out. Following the report stock futures remained lower, with Dow futures off about 225 points, S&P 500 futures down about 22, about Nasdaq futures off 66.

But some companies have expressed concern about negative effects on their businesses from rising tensions about trade.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell issued a statement in the aftermath of the jobs report saying the central bank's "patient approach has paid dividends and contributed to the strong economy we have today".

The Dow Jones average was down 383 at 24,122 and the S&P 500 was down 31 at 2,632. Overall, the revisions lowered job gains in those two months by 50,000. For the entire first quarter, job growth has averaged about 202,000 a month, enough to keep up with the growing workforce population - and then some.

USA benchmarks opened sharply lower in the wake of disappointing jobs data for March.

USA stocks tumbled, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 650 points, or 2.6 per cent.

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The nation's unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent for the sixth straight month, the Labor Department said Friday. March's report is also a big slowdown from February and represented the fewest jobs created in six months.

The proportion of adults in their prime working years - defined as ages 25 to 54 - who are either working or looking for jobs reached the highest level in almost seven years in February, before declining slightly last month. Last year, employment increased by 128,400, which is equivalent to nearly 500 new jobs, on average, per working day. The U-4 measure, which includes unemployed and discouraged workers, fell from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

The job figures come as concern grows about a trade war between United States and China.

Just over half an hour before the release of the market-moving non-farm payrolls report, the Dow Jones average, which rose 241 points yesterday to close at 24,505, was expected to open at around 24,242. So far, President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese goods, and Beijing has said it would respond commensurately if that happened.

The number of jobs added in February was revised upwards from 313,000 to 326,000 while January's job numbers were revised down from 239,000 to 176,000. "Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.7 percent".

Despite all the negative backlash received by the Trump administration, new statistics reveal that the U.S. economy showed signs of positivity in the fourth quarter and grew at a much faster pace than the rest of 2017.

Also changing jobs is Joseph Jackson, the chief executive officer of Wageworks Inc.

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