10:30 AM New York – Net new job creation in March fell sharply to 126,000, ending the year-long stretch of job addition of more than 200,000. The March month job addition was the smallest in fifteen months and the jobless rate in the month held at 5.5%. January and February job increased were revised lower.
Employers at all levels in the U.S. economy added the smallest number of job since December 2013.
The sharp fall in energy prices, difficult weather conditions, and curtailed exports because of rising dollar played key role in the monthly jobs data.
Net Non-farm payrolls in March increased 126,000, the smallest increase in fifteen months, the Labor Department said today.
In a separate report, the government agency said jobless rate held at 6-1/2-year low of 5.5% as more people gave up looking for work.
Economists were looking for much larger increase in workforce and several surveys showed some economists looking for as many as 290,000 net job additions.
However, the latest monthly report also trimmed net job gains in January and in February.
Paltry monthly job gains in February were cut down to 264,000 from the previous estimate of 295,000 and January net job increase was lowered by 48,000.
The March month job increase ended the 12 monthly job gains over 200,000 in a row, the longest series since 1994.
There were few bright spots in the report, average work week decreased largely because of inclement weather and the number of Americans looking for work for 27 weeks or longer also fell.
The average work week declined to 34.5 hours in March from 34.6 in February but average hourly earnings increased 0.3% from February to $24.86.
Weaker exports forced employers in manufacturing to cut jobs by 1,000 and difficult weather forced construction sector to trim jobs by the same.
The ongoing plunge in the energy belt forced more employers to cut jobs and payrolls shrank by 11,000 in March.