On Friday new Federal Reserve, Chairman Jerome Powell made his first speech on the economy since taking over the top Job at the FED, saying that growth is running at a solid pace and continued gradual rate hikes will be necessary. He expects inflation to continue to move towards the Fed's 2 percent goal, even with wage gains that remain contained. Unemployment likely will drop below 4 percent, and Powell figures that labour force participation could pick up with the right mix of economic policies. Considered to be more hawkish on rates than his immediate predecessor, Janet Yellen, Powell said it's important to keep moving rates higher despite the lack of inflation.
The US created 103,000 jobs last month as growth slowed following a strong February that had exceeded expectations. Analysts had been looking for March non-farm payrolls to come in at around 190,000 keeping the six-month average around 186,000. Unemployment had been forecast to dip slightly to four per cent, but held steady at 4.1 per cent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Employment increased in manufacturing, health care and mining, while retail trade and construction dipped. There was a slight pick-up in wage growth, with average hourly earnings rising by eight cents to $26.82, so over the year average hourly earnings have risen by 71 cents or 2.7 per cent.