On the March Jobs Report

A rate of unemployment under 5% indicates that an economy is in "full employment".

US job creation slowed sharply in March amid continued layoffs in the retail sector, but a drop in the unemployment rate to a near 10-year low suggests the labor market is still tightening.The US unemployment rate dipped in March to a almost 10-year low of 4.5 per cent, even as payroll data showed much slower hiring, the Labour Department said Friday.

Hospitals added just about 9,000 jobs, while ambulatory centers, which includes doctors offices, outpatient centers and diagnostic laboratories, added just shy of 6,000 jobs. The labour force rose last month while the number of people claiming unemployment fell.

However, the province's unemployment rate climbed slightly from 8.3 to 8.4 per cent because more people were out looking for work.

The biggest gains were in professional and business services (+56,000) and in mining (+11,000), while retail trade lost jobs (-30,000).

Medium-sized businesses (50 to 499 employees) gained 100,000 jobs during the month, and large businesses (500 or more employees) added 45,000, ADP said.

Also pointing to some pullback in job gains, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported on Thursday that USA -based employers announced 43,310 job cuts in March, up 17 percent from February.

All told, the United States economy added just 98,000 jobs in March, well shy of the 180,000 economists predicted and down from February's gain of 219,000 jobs.

With files from The Canadian Press.

Analysts expected some payback in March after unseasonably mild temperatures pulled forward hiring to early in the year, especially in sectors such as construction, resulting in 200,000-plus job gains in January and February. With modest job gains in March, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy needs to pause ahead of its proposed interest rate hike in June.

Compared with March 2016, employment increased by 276,400 jobs, or 1.5 percent.

Some other labor indicators seemed to signal continued strong job gains last month.

On top of that, the totals from January and February were revised down by a combined 38,000 jobs.

The report also said the annual rate of growth in average hourly employee earnings slowed to 2.7 percent in March from 2.8 percent in February. Yet at the same time, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in almost a decade.

Consumer and business sentiment has soared since the November presidential election, but the increased optimism hasn't yet accelerated growth.

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