US adds a healthy 236,000 jobs despite Fed’s rate hikes

America’s employers added a solid 236,000 jobs in March, reflecting a resilient labor market and suggesting that the Federal Reserve may see the need to keep raising interest rates in the coming months, according to an Associated Press report.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, not far above the 53-year low of 3.4% set in January. Last month’s job growth was down from February’s sizzling gain of 326,000.

Friday’s government report suggested that the economy and the job market remain on solid footing despite nine rate hikes imposed over the past year by the Fed. The March job gain may lead the Fed to conclude that the pace of hiring is still putting upward pressure on wages and inflation and that further rates hikes are necessary.

Despite last month’s brisk job growth, the latest economic signs increasingly suggest that an economic slowdown may still be upon us.