ECA News


Date ArticleType
4/13/2018 Industry News
Labor Market Back on More Even Keel

The optics for U.S. payrolls were uninspiring last month without altering the big picture: A tight labor market is helping lift wages and underpinning the Federal Reserve's plan to keep raising interest rates.

The return of more seasonable winter weather resulted in some payback, as hiring cooled more than forecast in March following an upwardly revised blowout number in February, Labor Department figures showed April 6. The jobless rate held at a 17-year low, while the advance in average hourly earnings matched projections.

Highlights of Employment (March)

• Nonfarm payrolls rose 103k (est. 185k); Feb. revised to 326k from 313k
• Jobless rate held at 4.1% for sixth month (est. 4%)
• Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% m/m and 2.7% y/y (matching ests.)

The three-month average payroll gain of 202,000-compared with the 182,000 average in 2017-signals demand for labor will help lift wages and sustain economic growth that's also likely to get a boost from tax cuts. A drop in construction employment and smaller gains in other weather-sensitive industries added to the volatility, cushioned by steady job growth in manufacturing that now faces a potential headwind from President Donald Trump's tariff threats. -- BNA