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Economic News

US Job Growth Beats Expectations Yet Again

April 5, 2024
Francis Généreux
Principal Economist


  • According to the establishment survey, the US economy added 303,000 jobs in March.
  • Average hourly earnings accelerated slightly to 0.3% in March, up from 0.2% in February. Year-on-year wage growth came in at 4.1%.
  • The household survey also showed strong employment growth, while unemployment edged down 0.1% to 3.8%.


The US job market remains surprisingly robust. Once again, the establishment survey showed more jobs were added than expected. The consensus had expected 200,000 new jobs in March, so the final figure of 303,000 seems like a particularly big jump. In addition, revisions to the previous months' data showed a net increase. Job growth was revised downward by 5,000 for February, but this was more than offset by the upward revision of 27,000 more jobs for January. In total, the US has already added 829,000 jobs so far this year. That's only slightly fewer than the 915,000 jobs created in the first three months of 2023.

The share of industries where employment increased also rose from January (58.6%) to February (59.4%). The major sectors didn't show much weakness either. Manufacturing jobs flatlined from February to March, but construction saw an uptick. Wholesale trade, which had seen month-on-month declines in January and February, posted its strongest job growth since October 2023. Temporary help services payrolls shrank once more, but fewer jobs (1,300) were lost than in previous months. Another bright spot in March was the increase in hours worked.

Even the divergence between the establishment and household surveys observed over the past few months narrowed in March. For the first time since November 2023, the household survey reported a bigger increase in jobs (498,000) than the establishment survey (303,000). Labour force participation also picked up in March. It climbed to 62.7%, a high since November.


The US job market remains highly resilient. Both the establishment and household surveys came in hot in March. Consequently, the US economy still shows very few signs of slowing down. Fed officials will therefore have to look to inflation to find any data that might justify lowering key rates. For now, inflation figures haven't improved as much as hoped, but a rate cut in June is still plausible. 

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