U.S. Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

US weekly jobless claims post largest drop in almost two years

USA job growth slowed sharply in March amid continued layoffs in the retail sector, but a drop in the unemployment rate to a near 10-year low of 4.5 percent suggested the labor market was still tightening.

Employment in the US rose by much less than anticipated in the month of March, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday, although the unemployment rate still fell to its lowest level in nearly ten years.

But the lack of booming jobs numbers will need to be carefully massaged by the White House, after President Trump spent much of 2016 describing the U.S. economy in dire terms and claiming the employment gains reported under the Obama administration were a mirage. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.7 percent. The overall unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent in February.

The monthly average for job creation over the previous six months dipped to 28,900 from 36,500 in February.

Construction companies added 6,000 jobs in March, the fewest in seven months.

The city's unemployment rate stood at 7.7 per cent in March, according to Statistics Canada labour market survey numbers issued Friday. The March figure is a drop from the 2.8 percent nominal annual wage growth recorded in February. About 29,700 retail jobs were cut in March, and the vast majority were from department stores that sell everything from furniture to vegetables.

U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges auto workers at the American Center for Mobility March 15, 2017 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The retail trade sector lost 30,000 jobs.

What's more, for the first time in years, overseas growth stands to boost the U.S. economy. One person can be employed, but have two jobs, so that would count as two jobs in the payroll survey but one person employed.

"No one should be obsessed with a single jobs report", says Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Mutual Funds. Those people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job at some time during the prior 12 months.

The economic sectors that most drove total nonfarm employment growth in March included professional services (excluding temporary help, +45,500), and healthcare (+16,700).

Strong employment gains and a falling unemployment rate from March through May could convince the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in June, following two hikes since December.

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