An economic recovery fueled by exports has spurred employment, prompting consumers to spend. Even so, employers are still reluctant to expand payrolls even if they have stopped firing, making further labor improvements unlikely through this year, according to economist Martin Schulz.
Payrolls fell by 50,000 in March, the second monthly decline. Household spending rose 4.4 percent, a separate report showed today.
The job-to-applicant ratio rose more than economists forecast, underscoring a rebound in demand for workers. There are 49 positions for every 100 candidates, a report from the Labor Ministry showed.