MUNCIE - According to the latest jobs report from the federal government, employment creation is down from the last three months of 2018, when monthly job growth averaged 233,000. Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University, says the findings show the U.S. economy is “cooling off.”

The March jobs report found 196,000 were created last month followed the truly dismal numbers from the February report and that employment creation is down from the last three months of 2018, when monthly job growth averaged 233,000.

According to the report, the unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 3.8 percent. Hicks says the factory employment declined in March, with the losses concentrated in the auto and transportation equipment sectors. There were gains in business services and healthcare.

Wages grew at 3.2 percent over inflation, suggesting labor markets remain tight, Hicks said.

“Labor markets are a lagging economic indicator, and today’s report suggests the economy is cooling and will continue to cool,” said Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “It does not suggest we have entered recession.”