Employment in the U.S. climbed and wages picked up in March, signs of labor-market durability in the face of lethargic global growth.
The 215,000 gain in payrolls followed a revised 245,000 February advance, a Labor Department report showed Friday. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent from a month earlier, while the jobless rate crept up to 5 percent as more people entered the labor force.
A still-robust pace of job creation represents a vote of confidence by employers that the U.S. will hold up against an anemic global economic backdrop. Additional tightening in the labor market that sparks bigger pay gains for American workers may convince Federal Reserve policy makers that the economy is more insulated to weakness overseas.
“We’ve been through some rough patches, but we continue to generate a lot of jobs,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC in New York, who correctly forecast the gain in payrolls. “In a consumer-driven economy, that’s going to keep us headed in the right direction.”