Job creation slowed sharply in March: Labor Dept.

The drop occurred because 16- to 19-year olds found jobs, likely at entry-level employers such as restaurants, which added almost 22,000 jobs last month.

After adding more than 200,000 jobs in each of the first two months of this year, the US economy gained only 98,000 jobs in March, according to the monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The March payroll gains compare with last year's average of 187,000 a month, a pace that analysts had forecast to decline to 181,000 in 2017. "The big storm hit during the sample week of the employment report and apparently delayed new hiring". Furthermore, the population ratio for prime age adults-a measure of the number of working adults are actually in the labor force-increased to 78.5 percent in this month, alone.

CNNMoney recently profiled an older blue-collar worker in Pennsylvania named Joe who had struggled for years to find a job after the Great Recession. The two-tenths of a percentage point drop in the unemployment rate from 4.7 percent in February took it to its lowest level since May 2007.

March marks the 78th consecutive month of job growth - the longest since official record-keeping began in 1939.

Construction, which had been helping to add to the count, added only 6,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate for teens dropped to 13.7 per cent from 15 per cent. That figure is down from the 187,000 monthly average past year.

How did the unemployment rate manage to drop so much when the job gain was so weak?

But in a sign there is still slack in the economy, the hourly wages of permanent employees rose by just 0.9 percent from March 2016.

Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims to fall to 250,000 in the latest week.

The manufacturing sector added 24,400 positions - mostly in Ontario and to a lesser degree in Alberta - to climb back up to the same level it was 12 months earlier.

Construction added 6,000 jobs, down from 59,000 jobs added the previous month.

The number of jobs created in February was revised down from 235,000 to 219,000, while the figure for January was revised down from 238,000 to 216,000.

LaSalle Network chief executive Tom Gimbel comments, "Companies that are growing want to hire really good people, and when you have an unemployment rate under 5 percent, there's a shortage of them".

However, hiring slowed substantially in March, President Trump's second full month in office. Other industries showed little change last month, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, information, and government. With these revisions, total nonfarm employment gains during the two-month period were 38,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 178,000 per month.

Retail trade didn't see good numbers in February (30,900 jobs were lost), and that was true again in March (29,700 jobs were lost).

  • Zachary Reyes