WASHINGTON (AP) — A month ago, many economists fretted that the 10-year U.S. expansion looked wobbly. But after the government reported Friday that hiring rebounded in March, the economy suddenly looks sturdy again.
Growth has weakened since last year to something closer to the modest pace that has prevailed for most of the nearly decade-long expansion. The jolt from the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts and greater government spending last year has faded. And the global economy has swiveled from a driver of the U.S. economy to a headwind.
Yet last month’s solid job gain of 196,000 may also help undercut any lingering fears that a recession might arrive over the next year or so. The economy’s slow but steady pace of growth is likely to keep inflation low and perhaps sustain the expansion, which is set to become the longest on record in July.
By historical measures, the expansion has fallen short of the sometimes-explosive growth that businesses and workers enjoyed in the past but that often led to financial bubbles or economic excesses — and eventually a recession.
“Lackluster means that you’re not overheating,” Josh Wright, chief economist at recruiting software maker iCIMS, said of the current expansion. “It’s more stable, and we’ll have fewer imbalances. It looks like we’ll be able to prolong this recovery even further.”
In its monthly jobs report Friday, the government also said the unemployment rate remained near a five-decade low of 3.8% in March.