US employers added the fewest number of jobs in more than a year in March. That could heighten concerns over the recent slowdown in economic growth and delay an anticipated interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve.
Nonfarm payrolls rose 126,000 last month, the smallest gain since December 2013, the US Labour Department said on Friday (April 3). The goods producing sector, which had been hurt by a strong dollar and lower crude oil prices, shed 13,000 jobs in March – the largest drop since July 2013.
The unemployment rate held at a more than 6-1/2-year low of 5.5 percent because people dropped out of the workforce.
There was some good news: average hourly earnings increased seven cents, lifting the year-on-year gain to 2.1 percent.
With Wal-Mart and McDonald’s announcing pay increases for their hourly workers, wage growth could gain some traction in the months ahead.