Job growth totals 236,000 in March, near expectations as hiring slows


Non-farm payrolls rose in line with expectations in March as the labor market showed growing signs of a slowdown.

The Labor Department reported Friday that payrolls increased by 236,000 for the month, compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 238,000 and down from a revised 326,000 in February.

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The unemployment rate eased to 3.5%, ahead of expectations it would remain at 3.6%, as labor force participation rose to its highest level before the Covid pandemic.

While it was closer to what economists expected, the total was the lowest monthly gain since December 2020 and comes amid the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stem inflation from slowing labor demand.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% along with payroll benefits, pushing 12-month growth to 4.2%, the lowest level since June 2021.

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