US jobs rise again as firms raise wages to woo staff

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US employers added 431,000 jobs last month as the American economy continued to rebound from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures from the Labor Department marked the 15th month in a row of job gains and helped to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6%.

Bars, restaurants and hotels were among the businesses leading the hiring last month.

The US has now regained nearly all the jobs lost since the pandemic hit.

The monthly report was another sign of healthy growth in the world’s largest economy, despite challenges posed by supply disruptions stemming from the Ukraine-Russia war and coronavirus.

“There were no signs that the war in Ukraine or the surge in oil prices had put a temporary hold on hiring in any parts of the economy,” said Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics.

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Faced with the tight labour market, businesses are paying more to woo workers.

The average weekly wage in March was up 5.6% from a year ago, the Labor Department said. However, those gains continue to lag inflation, which hit 7.9% in February, a 40-year high.

The US central bank raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 last month, in an effort to dampen demand and check the rising prices. It signalled plans for further increases over the coming year.

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