Trucking adds 4700 jobs, sets record high in March

The Labor Department released the latest data on U.S.jobs Friday.

Job gains, which had exceeded 200,000 in January and February, were also held back by a slowdown in hiring at construction sites, factories and leisure and hospitality businesses, which had been boosted by unusually warm temperatures earlier in the year.

Retail trade employment dropped by 30,000 in March, likely due to the end of the holiday shopping season. The unemployment rate has been five percent or lower for well over a year.

On a year-over-year basis, employment growth was positive in British Columbia (+3.5%) and the Province also continued to have the lowest unemployment rate of all provinces, at 5.4%.

Turning to metrics of tightness in the labor market, average hourly earnings rose by $0.05, which translates to an annual rate of 2.3 percent. The pace of job growth was sharply down from an average of almost 218,000 in the first two months of the year. Thomas Simons of Jefferies suggests it may be the more accurate report and the establishment survey, from which the payrolls figure is derived, may have been marred by weather effects.

It was an off month for the labor market as struggling retailers employ fewer workers.

The drop in the unemployment rate is good news, but it doesn't mean everyone has benefited.

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Most economists had expected a drop-off in hiring in March after robust gains in both January and February, but the drop was worse than projected.

On the other had, professional and business services, which tend to spur the use of office space, gained 56,000 positions, which is more-or-less in line with that average gains of the last 12 months.

Retail payrolls fell 29,700, declining for a second straight month.

In February, the wage gain was 2.8 percent compared to a year earlier. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. Observers had expected at least double the jobs growth in March, which would have held steady with the trends of recent months. Critics warn against putting too much stock in the data, however, which calculate the veteran unemployment rate from a much smaller sample size than the overall rate.

Construction, for example: The industry only added 6,000 jobs in March.

New York Fed President William Dudley said on Friday that would prompt only a "little pause" in the central bank's rate hike plans.

In a note to investors, BMO chief economist Douglas Porter described last month's numbers as a "hearty rise".

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