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Jobs Numbers
May 3, 2019

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in April, exceeding expectations that ranged from 190,000 to 217,000, MarketWatch reports. The gains helped reduce the unemployment rate from 3.8 percent to a 49-year low of 3.6 percent, CNBC says. A sharp, 490,000-person drop in labor force participation also contributed to the decrease in unemployment. The average hourly earnings of American workers rose 0.2 percent, to $27.77 an hour, slightly less than expected.

The government revised March's job gains to 189,000, down from an initial report of 196,000. February's gain was adjusted from 33,000 to 56,000. Employment gains firmed up in the last two months after an erratic start this year, with a huge 312,000-job increase in January followed by February's weak gains after the government shutdown. Harold Maass

April 5, 2019

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department reported Friday. The number exceeded expectations of a 172,000-job gain forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The number marked a rebound from a 17-month low in February, when U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by a disappointing 20,000 new jobs, although that figure was adjusted up to 33,000 in Friday's report. The strong jobs report could help ease fears of a sharp economic slowdown.

"A number that is close to consensus and with an upward revision to February will give you some degree of comfort that while the economy is slowing, it isn't declining rapidly," said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore, shortly before the report came out. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent, CNBC reports. Harold Maass

January 4, 2019

U.S. employers added 312,000 non-farm jobs in December, far exceeding forecasts, according to a Friday report from the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a 182,000 increase, on average. Despite the gains, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent as 419,000 more people entered the labor force searching for work.

A broader measure of unemployment that takes into account discouraged workers and those doing part-time jobs for economic reasons remained at 7.6 percent.

Wages increased by 0.4 percent over the previous month, and 3.2 percent from a year ago, tying October for the best year-over-year increase since April 2009. The job gains showed that the economy remains strong despite growing concerns of a global slowdown. Harold Maass

December 7, 2018

U.S. employers added 155,000 non-farm jobs in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, continuing months of solid hiring but falling short of expectations. Economists polled by MarketWatch on average had forecast a gain of 190,000 jobs.

Unemployment remained at 3.7 percent for the third straight month, a 49-year low. Hourly wages rose by 0.2 percent to $27.35 an hour, leaving the 12-month rate of hourly wage gains unchanged at a nine-year high of 3.1 percent.

The solid numbers came despite warning signs of slowing growth and concerns over trade tensions. Hiring got a boost from higher-than-usual holiday hiring as retailers prepare for what they expect to be a strong holiday season. Harold Maass

November 2, 2018

U.S. non-farm employers added 250,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The figure beat an average forecast of 208,000 new jobs by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The gains were enough to keep the unemployment rate at 3.7 percent, a 48-year low.

The continued strong hiring has made it harder for employers to find and keep workers, contributing to higher take-home pay for employees. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2 percent last month to $27.30 an hour. The wage increase over the past 12 months rose to 3.1 percent from 2.8 percent, marking the first time that number has reached 3 percent since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009. Harold Maass

September 7, 2018

Hiring continued at a strong pace in August with U.S. employers adding 201,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday morning. The numbers came in at or above what economists polled by MarketWatch and Reuters expected. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9 percent. July's gain was revised to 149,000 from an initially reported 159,000, and June's was reduced from 248,000 to 208,000. Economists had predicted strong hiring encouraged by healthy consumer demand and economic growth. The yearly rate of pay increases hit the highest level since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009, rising from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent, CNBC reported. Harold Maass

July 6, 2018

The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. employers added 213,000 jobs in June, exceeding economists' expectations in the latest sign of accelerating economic growth. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a gain of 200,000 non-farm jobs, on average.

The strong report represented an expected drop from a surge in May. The government on Friday revised May's gains up to 244,000 from the initially reported 223,000, Reuters reported. Just 120,000 new jobs are enough to keep up with growth in the working-age population. The unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent, the lowest since 2000, to 4 percent, as more people entered the work force and students grabbed summer jobs. Average hourly wages rose by 5 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $26.98. Harold Maass

March 9, 2018

U.S. employers added 313,000 non-farm jobs in February, exceeding expectations and marking the biggest gain since mid-2016. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted an increase of 222,000 jobs. January's gains were adjusted up to 239,000 from 200,000. Unemployment remained at 4.1 percent, and hourly pay rose by 4 cents to $26.75. The 12-month wage gain fell from 2.8 percent in January to 2.6 percent in February. The slowdown in wage growth pointed to a gradual increase in inflation, suggesting little reason to adjust expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates at its next two-day policy meeting, which starts March 20. Harold Maass

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