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Payroll Numbers Meet Expectations

The hiring trend in the private sector managed to keep chugging on for a bit, showing in March that strength in the United States job market has not been derailed by slowdowns elsewhere across the globe.

As The Wall Street Journal noted on Wednesday (March 30), the overall payroll figure met expectations, and as stated by Automatic Data Processing Inc., along with Moody’s Analytics, the 200,000 boost in payrolls was in line with expectations of economists polled by WSJ. In addition, February’s gain was ratcheted lower, by at least a bit, to 205,000 from 214,000. The latest number has matched average readings seen in the past few years.

The continued momentum in private hiring shows that employers are not daunted by macro-concerns over slowdowns outside U.S. borders. The hiring pace continues to defy conventional wisdom that holds that a strong dollar and stock market losses would blunt that growth.

The leading sector of growth was services, which is where most employment resides, adding 191,000 positions, which was down only slightly from the 204,000 added in February. There was also a slight rebound in manufacturing, which has seen gains after letting 9,000 people go in the previous month.

In discussion of the results, Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said: “Although first quarter GDP growth may not have been quite as strong as we initially believed, the resilience of the labor market suggests that the economy is not in any serious trouble.” Small businesses hired 86,000 people in March, better than the 68,000 brought on board in February.

Looking ahead at the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey due out Friday, consensus looks for gains of 213,000, even while the unemployment rate has held steady at just under 5 percent.


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