This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

US Economy Adds 88K Jobs, Rate Drops To 7.6 Pct.

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER and PAUL WISEMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ A streak of robust job growth came to a halt in March, signaling that U.S. employers may have grown cautious in a fragile economy.

The gain of 88,000 jobs was the smallest in nine months. Even a decline in unemployment to a four-year low of 7.6 percent was nothing to cheer: It fell only because more people stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Friday's weak jobs report from the Labor Department caught analysts by surprise and served as a reminder that the economic recovery is still slow, nearly four years after the Great Recession ended.

"This is not a good report through and through," Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at brokerage firm BTIG, said in a note to clients.

Economists had no single explanation for why hiring weakened so sharply and broadly â¿¿ from retailers and manufacturers to electronics and building materials companies. Some said deep government spending cuts that began taking effect March 1 might have contributed to the slowdown, along with higher Social Security taxes. Others raised the possibility that last month was just a pause in an improving job market.

Whatever the reasons, slower job growth will extend the Federal Reserve's policy of keeping borrowing costs at record lows.

March's job gain was less than half the average of 196,000 jobs in the previous six months, raising the prospect that for the fourth straight spring, the economy and hiring could show strength early in the year, only to weaken later. Some economists say weak hiring may persist into summer before rebounding by fall.

The percentage of working-age Americans with a job or looking for one fell to 63.3 percent in March, the lowest such figure in nearly 34 years.

Stocks plummeted after the report but narrowed their losses later in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down about 41 points. Broader indexes also declined.

1 of 5

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,643.01 -11.76 -0.07%
S&P 500 1,988.87 +1.21 0.06%
NASDAQ 4,828.3250 +15.6170 0.32%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs