Fewer jobs than expected were created in the US during March, but rather than suggesting a burgeoning weak spot in its economy, many believe the slowdown in jobs growth is emblematic of a tightening labour market.
The evidence? Growth in average hourly earnings - a plausible sign that employers are keen to hold on to staff, who are becoming increasingly difficult to find on labour exchanges.
Non-farm payrolls for March rose by 103,000, down sharply from the 326,000 jobs created during February and missing expectations of a rise of 193,000.
The rate of unemployment remained at February's level of 4.1%, missing market expectations of a dip back down to 4%.
Most encouraging, however, was the 0.3% increase in average hourly earnings, helping wage growth climb to an annual rate of 2.7% in March - up from February's 2.6%.
Tightening labour market
The big negative surprise on the number of jobs created in March caused a knee-jerk negative reaction on the currency markets, but few analysts believe it will deter the Federal Reserve from its target of four rate increases this year.
Indeed, many believe that slowdown in the creation of jobs is inevitable, given the pattern of strong jobs growth in previous reports and a shrinking in the pool of labour available.
"Other surveys have pointed to the fact that it is becoming harder and harder for firms to find staff," says James Smith at ING.
Jacob Deppe, head of trading at Infinox, agrees: "As the US inches closer to full employment, it’s getting increasingly tough for American companies to find the staff they need to grow."
Such was one of the findings in Monday's IHS Markit purchasing manager survey of the US manufacturing sector, where the rate of job creation remained strong, but dipped to a four-month low.
Smith adds: "This means that a gradual slowdown in jobs growth is to be expected. But it also suggests that wage pressures are building – and that’s the message from today’s figures."
The likely inflationary impact, however, is being ignored by the markets which are currently only seeing a weak number.
If wages are continuing to rise as growth in job creation is slowing, it is highly likely that employers are coming under pressure from an increasingly confident workforce to raise their pay.