U.S. Adds 303,000 Jobs in March

(Image courtesy of BLS)

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 303,000 in March, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job gains occurred in health care, government and construction.

The unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 3.8%, and the number of unemployed people also was fairly flat, at 6.4 million.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised up by 27,000, from 229,000 to 256,000.

For February, it was revised down by 5,000 from 275,000 to 270,000.

“Wages increased at a 4.1% rate over the past year, down a bit from earlier this year, but still a more rapid pace than is likely to be maintained over the course of this year. Although job openings have decreased somewhat, there is still strong demand from employers in some sectors of the economy,” said Mortgage Bankers Association SVP and Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni.

“Our view is that recent data continues to point to a slowdown in economic growth in 2024, but the odds of a recession are much reduced given the resilient job market, which will provide support for consumer spending,” Fratantoni continued.

“Investors may see another strong jobs report as further evidence that rate cuts may not be imminent. At the end of 2023, the market was expecting that the Fed would cut rates six-to-seven times in 2024,” said First American Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi. “However, with the economy and labor market proving resilient, and inflation remaining stickier than anticipated, the Fed seeks further assurance that inflation is headed sustainably toward its 2% target. As a result, expectations for rate cuts have crashed, and the majority expect three or fewer rate cuts this year.”