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Job Growth Totaled 303,000 in March, Better Than Expected, and Unemployment Was 3.8%

A ‘Now Hiring!’ sign stands on display next to the Jiffy Lube International booth during a Job News USA career fair in Overland Park, Kansas.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Job creation in March easily topped expectations in a sign of continued acceleration for what has been a bustling and resilient labor market.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 303,000 for the month, well above the Dow Jones estimate for an increase of 200,000 and higher than the downwardly revised 270,000 gain in February, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The unemployment rate edged lower to 3.8%, as expected.

In the key average hourly earnings measure, wages rose 0.3% for the month and 4.1% from a year ago, both in line with Wall Street estimates.

Job growth came from many of the usual sectors that have powered gains in recent months. Health care led with 72,000, followed by government (71,000), leisure and hospitality (49,000) and construction (39,000). Retail trade contributed 18,000 while the “other services” category added 16,000.

Markets have been keeping close watch over the employment data particularly as the Federal Reserve weighs its next moves on monetary policy. Stocks have tumbled this week amid concerns that a strong labor market and resilient economy could keep the central bank on hold for longer than expected.

Stock market futures were around the flatline following the report while Treasury yields posted gains.

This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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