The 103k U.S. March payroll gain
The 103k U.S. March payroll gain after 50k in downward revisions was a big disappointment, with March weakness concentrated in the service sector and construction, and downward revisions led by government. Beyond payrolls the report was mixed, with a 0.1% hours-worked rise after the 0.6% February pop, and a firm 0.3% hourly earnings gain. Analysts saw largely expected declines of 37k for civilian jobs and 158k for the labor force that capped otherwise huge Q1 gains, leaving a participation rate downtick to a still-firm 62.9% from a 63.0% 4-year high. Goods sector restraint likely reflects some give-back of the February surge. Goods sector jobs rose by 15k with gains of 22k for factories and a firm 8k for mining, but with a 15k drop for construction. Hours-worked for the goods sector fell 0.2%, with declines of 0.1% for factories and 0.7% for construction, but with a 1.0% rise for mining. Though payroll weakness was surprising, the component data supported our prior assumptions for March and Q1 growth in the economy.