The US economy gained fewer jobs than estimated: only 103K in March 2018. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1%. However, wages are up 0.3%, better than had been expected. Year over year, salaries are up 2.7%, up from 2.6% but exactly as projected.
The US dollar initially dropped on the news but is recovering quite quickly. EUR/USD jumped towards 1.2260 before retreating back down. Update: after the dust settles, the greenback extends its retreat.
Other figures are mixed: the “real unemployment rate”, or U-6 is down to 8% from 8.2%, but private payrolls are poor with 102K. Revisions to the previous two months wipe out 50K in jobs, adding to the misery. And, the unemployment rate would have been higher had it not been for a drop in the participation rate from 63% to 62.9%.
This report is not enough to convince the Fed to raise rates four times instead of three. The GDP data published last week was better and may have pushed them a bit further, but this publication doesn’t cement the cause.
The US was expected to report a gain of 193K jobs in March after enjoying a whopping gain of 313K in February. More importantly, wages carried expectations for 0.2% m/m after 0.1% beforehand and 2.7% y/y after 2.6% earlier.
Markets were quite stable ahead of the publication, with the US dollar consolidating its gains.