US employers add just 98K jobs, as rate falls to 4.5 pct

The unemployment rate fell because almost a half-million more Americans reported finding jobs, the government said.

However, the province's unemployment rate climbed slightly from 8.3 to 8.4 per cent because more people were out looking for work.

The number of unemployed state residents fell to 40,300. The overall unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent in February.

Hampton Roads unemployment dropped from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent from January to February and was down from 4.9 percent in February 2016.

The reason relates to a little-known fact about the government's monthly jobs report: The government conducts one survey to learn how many jobs were created and another to determine the unemployment rate.

Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa have fewer jobs this year than they did a year ago.

The participation rate is fighting a strong demographic headwind: Retiring baby boomers, whose exit from the labor force, all else equal, would tend to push the rate down. Add that up with the 38,000 in downward revisions for January and February, and the job creation picture looks much less rosy than assumed over the first quarter of the year.

The number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs declined.

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Still, some areas of the economy are humming: Developers are building more homes, with construction starts up 7.5 percent in January and February compared with a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not now looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. Today only 12.4 million workers remain in the industry. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased 1,700 in February, with gains of 1,400 in the goods-producing sector and 300 in the service-providing sector. Retailers including J.C. Penney Co Inc and Macy's Inc have announced thousands of layoffs as they shift toward online sales and scale back on brick-and-mortar operations. Manufacturing employment gained 11,000 jobs as rising oil prices fuel demand for machinery. Another report, however, showed US private payrolls surged by 263,000 jobs in March.

Finally, we also have a very likely culprit for why March's number was so low: the weather.

The country lost 2,400 positions in the services sector last month, and 13,000 jobs in transportation and warehousing.

"Even so, we suspect that the Bank of Canada will continue to accentuate the downside risks in next week's monetary policy report, and one mixed jobs report is not going to make a dent in their view".

Most Americans focus more on the unemployment rate, which comes from the household survey.

The average workweek for all employees in the private sector was unchanged at 34.3 hours in March. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.7%. "Housing supply, on the other hand, could be constrained further because homebuilders still face worker shortages, despite construction employment gains holding steady in recent months".

Little change was expected in the employment-to-population ratio, which hit an eight-year high of 60 per cent in February. In January, Madison had 3.2 percent unemployment, while Charlottesville, Greene and Fluvanna all had 3.5 percent unemployment. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.


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