Nonfarm Payrolls Increases by 236,000 While Wage Growth Cools to 4.2%


U.S. employers add 236,000 workers in March versus expectations of a gain of 239,000 jobs. Consequently, the unemployment rate edges lower to 3.5%, one-tenth of a percent below consensus estimates. Similarly, the average hourly earnings hits 0.2% m-o-m and 4.2% y-o-y.

Immediately after the NFP report crossed the wires, S&P 500 futures wiped out losses and moved into positive territory despite the jump in Treasury yields. Meanwhile, EUR/USD took a turn to the downside, but the knee-jerk reaction quickly faded. With cash markets closed today, these moves may not be an accurate reflection of sentiment, so traders will have to wait until Monday to get a better idea of how key assets will trend going forward following March labor market data.

U.S. employers continued to add to their ranks at a healthy pace at the end of the first quarter despite the advanced stage of the economic cycle, but hiring decelerated moderately compared to earlier in the year, a sign that companies are becoming a tad more cautious about their plans to expand headcount.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy generated 236,000 jobs in March, versus 239,000 expected, following an upwardly revised gain of 326,000 payrolls in February. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5%, one-tenth of a percent below consensus estimates, even as the labor force participation level climbed to 62.6% from 62.5%.

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