Jobless rate rises to 5.5 per cent in March

Monday, 08 Apr, 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs bounced back in March as non-farm payrolls expanded by 196,000 as the unemployment rate held at 3.8%.

The government reports notable gains in jobs related to health care and in professional and technical services.

Average hourly wages rose four cents for the month, putting them up 3.2 percent over March of a year ago, more than twice the pace of consumer inflation over the same period. Wage gains rose 0.14 percent last month with paychecks 3.2 percent bigger, year-over-year.

"So after a run of six consecutive employment gains, in which almost 300K jobs were added to the total, it was little surprise to see a modest give-back of 7K in March". The unemployment rate held steady at 5.8% as slightly fewer Canadians engaged with labour markets. For the March 2018, the accuracy is also plus or minus one percentage point while that for February is plus or minus 1.1 percentage point, both also 34 times out of 50.

Despite an increase in employment in the prairie province of Saskatchewan as well as New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada, it was "little changed" in the other seven provinces, the agency said.

The number of Americans claiming unemployment insurance hit a 50-year low Thursday. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.

"The 196,000 jobs added in March shows the U.S. economy is not stalling out, something investors were anxious about following February's disappointing numbers".

The total number of jobs in Canada came in at around 19 million, up 116,000 in the first quarter of 2019 and 332,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz expressed guarded optimism earlier this week that Canada would emerge from a soft patch, but said the economic outlook still warrants an interest rate below the neutral range.

Construction added 16,000 jobs, which did not fully offset the 25,000 drop reported in February.

Within healthcare, ambulatory healthcare services assumed its usual position as the top hirer, adding 27,000 jobs in March, up 27% from February.