The U.S. economy marked its 90th consecutive month of job growth in March, but the U.S. added fewer jobs than had been expected, with a net gain of only 103,000.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in Friday’s monthly update on the nation’s economic health.
“Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents in March to $26.82, following a 3-cent gain in February,” BLS Acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski said in releasing the report. “Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.7 percent.”
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The new data from March follow strong job growth in February, when it was initially reported that U.S. companies had added 313,000 jobs — the biggest increase in 1 1/2 years. That number has now been revised even higher, to a gain of 326,000.
Areas that saw job gains included manufacturing, health care and mining, the government report said.
Economists had expected the U.S. job market to slow down from February’s fast pace, with a consensus predicting from 180,000 to 190,000 new jobs.
The BLS report also included a revision that cut the job tallies from January, dropping the gain from 239,000 to 176,000.
With revisions for January and February that cut non-farm payroll employment by 50,000 jobs, monthly employment gains have now averaged 202,000 over the past three months.