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US March Payrolls Exceed Forecasts, Unemployment Rate Still 3.8%

Elizabeth Balboa

Expansions in health care and professional and technical services prompted a swell in U.S. non-farm payroll numbers last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. March numbers came in at 196,000, far exceeding estimates of 175,000 and a previous mark of 33,000.

The figures contributed to quarterly employment growth averaging 180,000 per month — short of 2018’s per-month growth of 223,000.

As forecasted, the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent.

The Breakdown

The expansion reflected accelerated growth in health care (49,000), professional and technical services (34,000), food services (27,000). Construction (16,000) and manufacturing (-6,000) recorded steady growth.

Average hourly earnings for non-farm payrolls increased by 4 cents, while the average work week rose by just 0.1 hours.

Revisions

The BLS increased its January records from 311,000 to 312,000 while raising its February estimates from 20,000 to 33,000.

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