Good March jobs report: Up 196,000 jobs, 3.8 percent unemployment rate; GDP expectations remain low.

A good March surprise (unlike our brackets): The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports hiring was up last month.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 196,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services…

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised up from +311,000 to +312,000, and the change for February was revised up from +20,000 to +33,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 14,000 more than previously reported.

The Wall Street Journal identified key takeaways from the report. Among them:

  • A rebound in hiring could lift confidence in the U.S. economy. After a slow month of hiring in February, the stronger-than-expected 196,000 headline number from last month could ease fears of a sharp growth slowdown. The figures could also increase focus on continuing trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The WSJ also noted that educational attainment matters.

The labor market got a little tougher for low-skilled workers in March. The unemployment rate for those with less than a high-school education rose to 5.9%, up from 5.3% in February and 5.6% a year ago. It’s the opposite story for the most educated: The rate for college graduates fell to 2% from 2.2% in February.

We’ll watch to see how the good employment news effects growth projections going forward. For Q1, estimates remain in the 1.5 percent – 2.0 percent range.