- May 1, 2019: Vol. 31, Number 5

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U.S. adds 196,000 jobs in March, exceeding expectations

by Loretta Clodfelter

The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8 percent. In addition, the totals for January and February were revised upward to 312,000 and 33,000, respectively.

Employment growth in the first quarter averaged 180,000 per month, down from the 223,000 per month recorded in 2018. The slowing employment growth — coming as it does after a decade of economic expansion with a sub–4 percent unemployment rate — may indicate the country is reaching the limit of the labor force.

By employment category, healthcare added 49,000 jobs in March, professional and technical services added 34,000 jobs, food services and drinking places added 27,000 jobs, and construction added 16,000 jobs.

March saw wage growth of $0.04 per hour for all employees, following an average hourly earnings increase of $0.10 in February. In the past 12 months, wages for all workers have growth 3.2 percent.

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