After a lackluster performance in February, the job market bounced back in March. February’s number of new jobs was also revised upward, to 33,000 from 20,000.
The buoyant jobs market that has helped sustain American households for the better part of a decade did not go anywhere.
After an unexpectedly weak February — just 20,000 new jobs were initially reported — concerns arose that the remarkable wave of hiring might be ebbing. But employment surged again last month, beating the expectations of most economists with 196,000 new jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.
Even lowly February looked better: The department revised its report upward to 33,000 jobs. And unemployment remained at 3.8 percent in March, while wage growth kept its momentum, ensuring that pay is growing faster than inflation.
The economy has now produced more than 21 million new jobs since the labor market bottomed out in 2010, and the unemployment rate has plunged from a peak of 10 percent in October 2009.
But in recent months, economists have seen reasons to doubt the strength of the economy. The invigorating effects of the tax cuts enacted at the end of 2017 are expected to fade. Large overseas economies have slowed, in part a reaction to continuing trade tensions. And while the stock market has rallied since a rout at the end of last year, other important financial indicators — such as government bond yields — suggest that investors expect growth to moderate.