APRIL 10, 2023 – HIRING SLOWS DOWN
The US economy added 236,000 jobs in March, down from 326,000 jobs in February. The growth was the lowest monthly gain since December 2020. The unemployment rate is now 3.5 percent, down 0.1 percent from February. Average hourly earnings are up 0.3 percent month-over-month and 4.2 percent year-over-year. The wage gains are the lowest seen since June 2021.
In separate reports, March layoffs are up nearly 400 percent from a year ago, jobless claims are up and private payroll growth has slowed. The Labor Department reported job openings fell below 10 million in February for the first time in almost 2 years.
The job numbers reflect slowing demand, which could be a good sign for the Fed. Inflation data will be released later this week, and depending on that, there may be enough to convince the Fed to hold rates steady at their next meeting on May 2-3. Investors are worried that another rate hike will trigger a recession.