US Non-Farm Payrolls Leap: 303K Jobs Added, Signaling Economic Fortitude

James Hyerczyk
Updated: Apr 5, 2024, 14:49 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • Nonfarm payrolls increased by 303,000, surpassing expected 200,000.
  • Consistent unemployment rate at 3.8% despite job growth.
  • Average hourly earnings rise, indicating a 4.1% annual increase.
  • Slight extension in average workweek to 34.4 hours.
  • Health care, government, and construction sectors lead job gains.
Non Farm payrolls

Impressive Job Growth in March

March witnessed a significant surge in the U.S. job market, with nonfarm payrolls climbing to 303,000, greatly exceeding the anticipated 200,000. This increase surpasses February’s adjusted gain of 270,000, showcasing a resilient labor market. The unemployment rate stayed constant at 3.8%.

Sector-Specific Breakdown

Notable job gains were seen in health care, adding 72,000 jobs, government sectors with a 71,000 increase, and construction, which added 39,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, trending upwards, returned to pre-pandemic levels with a 49,000 increase. Other services and social assistance also saw growth, while retail trade and major industries like manufacturing and financial activities showed minimal change.

Earnings and Work Hours

Average hourly earnings for private nonfarm employees rose by 12 cents to $34.69, reflecting a 4.1% year-over-year increase. The average workweek marginally extended to 34.4 hours.

Unemployment Rate Consistency and Demographic Analysis

The unemployment rate has hovered between 3.7% and 3.9% since August 2023. Among demographic groups, unemployment increased for Blacks to 6.4%, decreased for Asians and Hispanics, and remained stable for Whites, men, and women. Long-term unemployment and part-time employment due to economic reasons showed little change.

Market Reactions and Federal Reserve Outlook

This robust job growth has led to a rise in Treasury yields, influencing market expectations regarding the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decisions. While rate changes are not anticipated at the Fed’s May meeting, there is a 63% chance of a cut by June. Federal Reserve officials, considering inflation trends, are debating the need for rate cuts.

Dow Jones and S&P 500 Response

Following the jobs report, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures saw a rebound, indicating a positive market response. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also experienced slight upticks.


Given the strong job market performance, steady unemployment rate, and positive market response, the short-term market outlook is bullish. This job growth, coupled with ongoing debates on interest rate cuts, presents a scenario of economic resilience and potential for continued investor optimism.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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