U.S. businesses add solid 200,000 jobs in March in sign labor market continues to improve
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U.S. businesses add solid 200,000 jobs in March in sign labor market continues to improve

U.S. businesses added a solid 200,000 net new jobs this month according to a closely watched private survey released Wednesday as the labor market continued to strengthen even as overall economic growth appears to be slowing.

The job growth in the report from payroll firm Automatic Data Processing was a bit slower than in February, which was revised down to 205,000 from an initial estimate of 214,000.

But the March figure was in line with analyst expectations and indicates the labor market has not been hurt by financial market turbulence early this year and fears of a slowing global economy.

“The job market continues on its amazing streak." said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in preparing the monthly report.

"The March job gain of 200,000 is consistent with average monthly job growth of the past more than four years," he said. "All indications are that the job machine will remain in high gear.”

With economic data mixed, Yellen says Fed will 'proceed cautiously' on interest rate hikes With economic data mixed, Yellen says Fed will 'proceed cautiously' on interest rate hikes Jim Puzzanghera

With mixed reports on the health of the U.S. economy this year, Federal Reserve policymakers will "proceed cautiously" on interest rate hikes, central bank Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said Tuesday.

The comments in a speech to the Economic Club of New York, in which she noted the "bouts of turbulence"...

With mixed reports on the health of the U.S. economy this year, Federal Reserve policymakers will "proceed cautiously" on interest rate hikes, central bank Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said Tuesday.

The comments in a speech to the Economic Club of New York, in which she noted the "bouts of turbulence"...

(Jim Puzzanghera)

Trade, transportation and utility companies increased their combined payrolls by 42,000 net new jobs in March, well above the 24,000 added the previous month, ADP said.

Manufacturers, who have been hurt by the rising value of the dollar, rebounded this month to add 3,000 net new jobs after shedding 9,000 in February.

But hiring in the construction industry declined, with companies adding 17,000 net new jobs, down from 24,000 in February.

The overall picture in the report, which is based on ADP's payroll data, was of a labor market that continues to improve even as lackluster consumer spending has caused economists to forecast weak economic growth of less than 1% in the first three months of the year. 

Consumer spending increases slightly as income growth slows Consumer spending increases slightly as income growth slows Jim Puzzanghera

Consumers increased their spending slightly last month as income growth slowed, an indication that the U.S. economy is off to a sluggish start this year, the Commerce Department said Monday.

In addition to 0.1% growth in February, the Commerce Department significantly revised down the previous...

Consumers increased their spending slightly last month as income growth slowed, an indication that the U.S. economy is off to a sluggish start this year, the Commerce Department said Monday.

In addition to 0.1% growth in February, the Commerce Department significantly revised down the previous...

(Jim Puzzanghera)

Analysts expect the Labor Department to report Friday that the U.S. economy -- private and public sector -- added 210,000 net new jobs this month. That would be down from a strong 242,000 figure in February but still push the nation closer toward what the Federal Reserve considers to be full employment.

The unemployment rate in March is forecast to have held steady at 4.9%, matching an eight-year low.

In a speech Tuesday, Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said central bank policymakers expect the labor market to continue to strengthen.

A tighter job market should push up wages, which have grown at a weak pace during the recovery. But the sluggish wage growth and low oil prices have kept inflation low.

Yellen cited inflation as well as concerns about the global economy as reasons Fed policymakers would "proceed cautiously" in deciding when to enact another increase in a key short-term interest rate.

jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

Follow @JimPuzzanghera on Twitter

Source:   latimes
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