Job creation posted a solid rebound in March, with nonfarm payrolls expanding by 196,000 and the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.8 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report Friday. The government noted jobs gains in health care, professional and technical services.
March's numbers indicate an improvement over February, when the unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent, 46,900 were working, 3,200 were seeking jobs and 22,700 were not participating, translating into an employment rate of 64.4 per cent and a participation rate of 68.8 per cent.
The labor force also shrank as more than 220,000 people stopped looking for work, driving the participation rate down 0.2 percent to 63 percent - a level around which it has stubbornly fluctuated for much of the past two years.
By demographic group, there was a drop in the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) for black workers by 0.3 percentage points to 57.9 percent, the lowest since last April.
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Construction showed little change in March (up 16,000) but has increased by 246,000 over the past 12 months.
The number of Americans claiming unemployment insurance hit a 50-year low Thursday. With a big decline also reported in January, it has lost an average of 9,500 jobs over the last three months.
The Canadian dollar weakened to a one-week low against its US counterpart on Friday as domestic data showed an unexpected jobs decline in March following outsized gains in the last two months which had helped support the currency.
The total number of jobs in Canada came in at around 19 million, up 116,000 in the first quarter of 2019 and 332,000 on a year-over-year basis.
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Analysts said the small decline in March, following six months of consecutive gains, was unlikely to alter the Bank of Canada's view of employment as a bright spot in Canada's economy.
Food services and drinking places continued its upward trend (a gain of 27,000), in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.
Within healthcare, ambulatory healthcare services assumed its usual position as the top hirer, adding 27,000 jobs in March, up 27% from February.
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