103000 jobs added in March; jobless rate stays at 4.1%

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Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the economy adding 193,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropping to 4.0 per cent.

"The upshot is that even though March was weaker than we were expecting, there is still evidence of an acceleration in the underlying pace of employment growth", said Paul Ashworth, chief USA economist at Capital Economics.

Canada's monthly jobless rate stayed at 5.8 per cent, as about 32,000 jobs were added, with the majority being full-time positions. Government data showed that orders for long-lasting factory goods - including industrial machinery, metals and autos - surged in February.

NutraBlend closed in late February, costing 88 jobs, while Apotex Pharmachem Inc. announced layoffs of 54 people in mid-March.

Statistics Canada said today, the B.C. rate is unchanged at 4.7 percent. There has been an increase in reports of employers, especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors, struggling to find qualified workers.

US job growth slowed sharply in March, offsetting the hiring spurt in the prior month.

With labour market slack diminishing, wage growth picked up a bit in March. Average hourly pay ticked up, climbing 2.7 percent compared with a year earlier.

The unemployment rate in Campbellton and Miramichi declined to 9.7 per cent from 11.5 per cent this time past year.

Despite the slowdown in job growth in March, steady wage gains should support consumer spending amid signs gross domestic product growth moderated in the first quarter.

Among Virginia's 133 cities and counties, the lowest jobless rates were found in Arlington; Falls Church; Alexandria and the city of Fairfax (2.4 percent each); and, in a four-way tie at 2.6 percent, Fairfax, Fluvanna and Loudoun counties and the city of Charlottesville. The economy grew at a 2.9 per cent pace in the fourth quarter.