U.S. Economy Adds Just 88,000 Jobs In March Which Causes Concern


UPDATED: Friday April 5, 2013 2:17 PM

U.S. employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months and a sharp retreat after a period of strong hiring. The slowdown may signal that the economy is heading into a weak spring.
    
The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent, the lowest in four years, from 7.7 percent. But the rate fell only because more people stopped looking for work. People who are out of work are no longer counted as unemployed once they stop looking for a job.
    
The percentage of working-age adults 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. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 110 points in late-morning trading. Broader indexes also declined.
    
March's job gain was less than half the average of 196,000 jobs in the previous six months. The government said hiring was even stronger in January and February than previously estimated. January job growth was revised up from 119,000 to 148,000. February was revised from 236,000 to 268,000.
    
Several industries cut back sharply on hiring in March. Retailers cut 24,000 jobs after averaging 32,000 in the previous three months. Manufacturers cut 3,000 jobs after adding 19,000 the previous month. Financial services shed 2,000.

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