Updated from 9:33 a.m. EDT with economists' comments on the government's March nonfarm payroll report.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The government said Friday that U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 120,000 in March while the unemployment rate fell to 8.2% from 8.3% in February. On average, economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting payrolls to increase by 200,000 and the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 8.3%. The worse-than-expected payroll number boosted bonds but hurt stock futures.
RDQ Economics noted that March's number must still go through two revisions and that other measures of employment have suggested the month's job growth was much stronger. On Wednesday, Automatic Data Processing reported that private-sector jobs increased by 209,000 in March. The March number will generate enough uncertainty that the Federal Reserve policymakers will leave open their quantitative easing options at their April 25 meeting, wrote John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros at RDQ Economics. But, they added, "this report, even taken at face value, is not a sign of weakness given the volatility in the data."