December 12, 2017
Friday, April 6, 2012

US employment gains slow, jobless rate drops

US payrolls rose far less than expected in March, keeping the door open for further monetary policy support from the Federal Reserve, even as the unemployment rate fell to a three-year low of 8.2 percent.

Employers added 120,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said today, the smallest increase since October.

While the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since January 2009, that was mainly because some people gave up the search for work. The separate household survey, from which the jobless rate is derived also showed a drop in employment.

The unemployment rate has fallen from 9.1 percent in August.

The weakness in hiring last month was concentrated in the vast private services sector, which added only 90,000 after increasing payrolls by 204,000 in February. Retail employment fell dropped 33,800 after falling 28,600 the prior month.

Construction hiring fell 7,000, the second straight monthly decline. Temporary help fell 7,500 after rising 54,900 in February.

However, manufacturing enjoyed another month of strong job gains, with factories adding 37,000 new positions, helped by carmakers trying to meet pent-up demand for motor vehicles. Factory jobs increased by 31,000 in February.

Government employment edged down 1,000 after rising 7,000 in February. Despite the weak employment gains last month, average hourly earnings rose 5 cents.

The workweek dipped to 34.5 hours from 34.6 hours in February.

President Barack Obama welcomed tUS jobs figures but said there was still more work to do and the econony would face "ups and downs along the way."

"It is clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way and that we've got a lot more work to do," Obama said.


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