U.S. job growth slowed sharply in March

A construction worker walked along One Dalton in Boston which is under construction

David L. Ryan Globe Staff A construction worker walked along One Dalton in Boston which is under construction

Although the tariffs would not take effect until June at the earliest, Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, saw in the disappointing March jobs growth an early sign "of an economy that is struggling with uncertainty of what lies ahead".

Still, through the first three months of the year, employers have added an average of 202,000 workers to payrolls, outpacing 2017's average monthly growth of 182,000. Yet the steady influx of new workers, which gives employers more hiring options than the low unemployment rate might otherwise suggest, could be holding back overall pay growth. More than 2.5 million jobs have been added to the economy since President Trump took office in January 2017 and almost 3 million have been added since his election in November 2016.

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Wage gains went up only slightly last month even though businesses are finding it increasingly harder to attract qualified workers and more people are leaving their jobs voluntarily. The government counts people who are out of work as unemployed only if they're actively searching for jobs.

Another closely watched indicator unemployment rate was stable at 4.1 percent for sixth straight month.

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"The question that looms large now is how trade talks will impact hiring in the second quarter", he said in a note warning of the economy "now entering a treacherous phase".

Ontario's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation. Leisure and hospitality employers added only 5,000 jobs last month, the least since September. Business services gained 33,000. It's not unusual for job growth to slow after a surge the month before. The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, slipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 62.9 percent in March after rising to a five-month high of 63.0 percent in February. The retail sector shed 4,400 jobs after adding 47,300 positions in February. Macroeconomic Advisers, a consulting firm, forecasts the economy grew at just a 1.4 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter - less than half the 2.9 percent annual pace of the October-December quarter.

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The March employment increase was led by monthly gains in the Public Administration (8,700) and Construction (6,700) sectors. Investors expected two more rate hikes this year.

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