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US non-farm payrolls up by 196,000 in March

The US economy still shows signs of strength as 196,000 more jobs were added in March.

US jobs rebounded in March after a disappointing February jobs report. Non-farm payrolls grew by 196,000 in March and the unemployment rate is steady at 3.8%, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. That statistic exceeds the 175,000 expected by Wall Street.

US non-farm payrolls:key figures

Healthcare +49,000
Professional and technical services +34,000
Restaurants +27,000
Construction +16,000

Where did non-farm payrolls grow in March?

Jobs increased most in the healthcare and technical services industries. Healthcare jobs surged by 49,000 and technical services positions grew by 41,000. Restaurants saw a growth of 27,000 new workers, while construction added 16,000 new jobs.

While all those professions saw advancement in adding jobs, manufacturing positions declined by 6000. There was also disappointing news as average wages only increased by 3.4% since 2018, less than the expected 3.2%.

The March jobs figures are a reassuring sign that the economy is still strong according to some financial experts. Steve Rick, head economist at CUNA Mutual Group, said that the statistics show that the February numbers were just a one-time occurrence.

‘With a strong March employment report now in the books, we’ve gotten some reassurance that the labor market is still strong. Of course, last month’s nosedive was disappointing, especially after December and January had such impressive numbers despite some sizable headwinds. But a good March report shows that February was more of an outlier than a canary in the coal mine,’ said Rick.

What do the non-farm payrolls mean for the US economy?

There are conflicting opinions about what the March jobs numbers mean for the economy. Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting, said that the news means that investors should be optimistic about the economy.

‘Markets are looking at every shadow and around every corner, whether it's an inverted yield curve or bad jobs report. This should assure people that the boogeyman isn't hiding in the closet,’ said Snaith.

Capital Economics chief economist, Paul Ashworth, wrote to clients that the slight decline in private sector jobs is a sign that the economy may be strong, but is slowing down.

‘Overall, nothing here to shift the dial very far in either direction. But the gradual slowdown in trend employment growth is another sign that the economy is weakening,’ wrote Ashworth.


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