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US Jobs Market Underwhelmed in March, But Fed Still on Track

Well that was disappointing. Friday's Non-Farm Payroll Report showed that only 98K jobs were added in March, missing economists' forecasts of about 174K. February's reading was revised down to 219K from 235K. 

Employment Situation Summary (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent in March, and total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services and in mining, while retail trade lost jobs.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.5 percent in March, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 326,000 to 7.2 million. Both measures were down over the year...

...The labor force participation rate remained at 63.0 percent in March, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, changed little. The employment-population ratio has edged up over the year, while the labor force participation rate has shown no clear trend.

This was definitely not the strong reading an earlier report (ADP Employment Report) suggested. The 98,000 reading was the lowest in 10 months.

(tradingeconomics.com)

The average hourly earnings rate increased 0.2% month over month in March, as expected. 

Despite the soft jobs data, the Fed should still have 2 more rate hikes in store for 2017. As noted on Marketwatch.com,

Despite the soft jobs data, the Fed should still have 2 more rate hikes in store for “I’d be really surprised if the Fed takes this as a signal that something bad is going on,” said Jim Glassman, head economist for commercial banking at J.P Morgan. 

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