US adds a healthy 236,000 jobs despite Fed’s rate hikes
April 7, 2023 -WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers added a solid 236,000 jobs in March, suggesting that the economy remains on solid footing despite the nine interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has imposed over the past year in its drive to tame inflation.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, just above the 53-year low of 3.4% set in January.
At the same time, some of the details of Friday’s report from the Labor Department raised the possibility that inflationary pressures might be easing and that the Fed might soon decide to pause its rate hikes. Average hourly wages were up 4.2% from 12 months earlier, down sharply from a 4.6% year-over-year increase in February.
Measured month to month, wages rose 0.3% from February to March, a tick up from a mild 0.2% gain from January to February. But even that figure signaled a slowdown from average wage increases in the final months of 2022.
Last month’s job gain marked a moderation from the sizzling 326,000 that were added in February.