Canada added a greater-than-expected 19,400 jobs in March, a lot of them full-time, while the unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent as more people sought work, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.
Just 98,000 net new jobs were added last month, reflecting, among other things, stalled hiring in construction and another significant decline in retailers' payrolls, the Labor Department said Friday.
The Department of Labor also revised down the job growth for January and February by a combined 38,000 in the new statistics.
KEY DRIVERS: The recovery from the Great Recession is almost eight years old, with the unemployment rate down to a healthy 4.7 percent. The labor-force participation rate was unchanged at 63%, remaining near the lowest level in decades as the baby boomer generation continues to entire retirement. According to BLS, construction employment saw little change in March (+6,000).
As a result, economists had expected a falloff in hiring in March. Manufacturing employment gained 11,000 jobs as rising oil prices fuel demand for machinery. While President Trump had recently tweeted a Fox Business clip that showed 263,000 jobs added, that was the less scientific ADP report. The difference reflects a little-known aspect of the monthly jobs reports: The count of jobs and the number of people who reported being hired are compiled by two separate surveys.
"No one should be obsessed with a single jobs report", says Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Mutual Funds. Retail shed 30,000 jobs, after declining by 26,000 jobs in February.
London's unemployment rate has fallen for the second straight month.
The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed US workers, forecast 3.2 percent year-over-year wage growth for Q1 2017.
The country lost 2,400 positions in the services sector last month, but added 21,800 factory jobs thanks to the biggest month-to-month surge in manufacturing work since 2002.
Weather-related disruptions to the economy could have slowed hiring in March, and employers could be finding it more hard to fill job openings as labor market slack diminishes.
Statistics Canada said declines were recorded in areas including educational services, transportation and warehousing, and public administration.
And despite the ongoing struggles to reform health care in Congress, jobs in the industry continued to trend up, adding 14,000 jobs last month.