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Andy Alexander: March Job Growth Nothing to Write Home About

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest economic news release on the current employment situation in the United States. The summary states lower than expected job growth in the U.S. economy with 103,000 jobs added in March.

The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the sixth consecutive month, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.6 million, changed little.

Employment increases were found primarily in manufacturing, health care and mining.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents in March to $26.82.

Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings for private-sector production and non-supervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.42 in March.

Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, reacted to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the employment situation in March saying:

“The March jobs report was a bit soft, and first quarter GDP growth rate also looks to be weak. Heavy snow in parts of the country, and the uncertainty related to potential trade war, may be (as of now) hindering companies from hiring.

"Although fewer people worked in construction in March because of the unusually cold wintry weather, job openings in the construction industry do remain at a historic high.

"If home builders can readily fill those jobs, then home construction significantly ramps up, and thereby brings more housing inventory to the market. 

"Looking ahead, 3 percent GDP growth does look easily possible in upcoming quarters, with more construction jobs leading to more job creations in other segments of the economy.”

— Andy Alexander is a licensed real estate broker with Santa Barbara Brokers and the 2018 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. The opinions expressed are his own.

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