U.S. Payrolls Expanded
By 211,000 Jobs in March
A WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP
April 7, 2006 1:02 p.m.
Employers added new jobs to U.S. payrolls at a healthy pace in March, as the unemployment rate slipped to the lowest mark in more than four years and wages grew modestly.
The Labor Department said Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 211,000 jobs last month after rising by revised totals of 225,000 in February and 154,000 in January. The unemployment rate, tabulated from a survey separate from the payroll data, fell to 4.7%, matching the lowest level since July 2001.
"The report shows a tighter labor market and implies solid gains in income from employment which will support consumer spending," said Nigel Gault, U.S. economist at Global Insight. "But at the same time, a tighter labor market raises nerves about wage inflation."
Average hourly earnings rose three cents, or 0.2%, from a month earlier to $16.49, suggesting that a tightening jobs market hasn't yet led to significant wage pressures. The increase in year-on-year terms was 3.4%. The average work week was unchanged at 33.8 hours.
Federal Reserve officials have cautioned in each of their last three meetings that high resource utilization -- and the jobless rate is considered a key indicator of resource use -- could pose a risk to underlying inflation. The latest unemployment rate data may heighten fears that workers will be able to bid up wages down the road despite the tame March hourly earnings gain.
"With unemployment rates at their recent levels, some possibility exists that labor costs will begin to rise faster than productivity, which in turn could put pressure on inflation," said Boston Fed President Cathy Minehan, on March 20.
Also, check out these interesting tidbits:
- 40% of employers are having difficulty filling positions, according to Manpower
- Monster Employment Index rises sharply in all US Regions
- Management & IT Consulting agencies struggle to meet demand
No doubt we've got zero room for immigrants in this hellish economy. And with regard to immigration, Jeff at Protein Wisdom has this excellent post which mirrors my position.
ARC: St Wendeler