WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employment growth accelerated from a 17-month low in March, assuaging fears of an abrupt slowdown in economic activity, but a moderation in wage gains supported the Federal Reserve’s decision to suspend further interest rate increases this year.
Milder weather boosted hiring in sectors like construction, but worsening worker shortages and lingering effects of tighter financial market conditions at the turn of the year left job growth below 2018’s brisk pace. The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday also showed a small upward revision to February’s meager job gains.
“This was a Goldilocks report, with a rebound in job growth to calm fears of an imminent recession, and wage growth that was solid enough without triggering inflationary concerns,” said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions. “The Fed will be pleased, as it supports their present stance of holding firm on rates.”