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Market Update

U.S. Labor Participation Rate at 34-Year Low on Weak Job Creation in March

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 12:14 PM ET April 05 2013

12:10 PM New York U.S. indexes declined after employers added less than expected net new jobs in March. Unemployment rate declined to 7.6% and labor participation rate plunged to 34-year low of 63.3%. Trade deficit in February declined 3.4% on the rising exports and flat imports.

Sharply Lower Job Creation in March

U.S. private companies and government added 88,000 net new employees in March, the slowest pace of job creation in nine months.

The February net job creation was revised higher to 268,000 from 236,000 and January tally was revised to 148,000 from 119,000, according to the data released by the Labor Department.

Retailer cut 24,000 jobs and the U.S. Postal Service eliminated 12,000 positions.

In a separate survey, the jobless rate declined to 7.6% in the month from 7.7%, however most of the decline was driven by the people leaving work force and stopped looking or work.

More worrisome was the labor participation rate declined to a 34-year low to 63.3% and a broader measure of unemployed declined to 13.8% from 14.3% in February.

The closely watched average hourly earnings level was nearly unchanged at $23.82 and average work week slightly increased to 24.1 hours.

Long-term unemployment remained a structural problem, on an average workers looking for work taking 37.1 weeks to find new jobs, longest in 2013.

Trade Deficit Falls 3.4%

The U.S. trade deficit declined 3.4% to $43 billion in February from a revised $44.5 billion in January.

Exports increased 0.8% to $186 billion on the rising sale of petroleum products and motor vehicles and parts.

Imports were nearly unchanged at $228.9 billion on the rising purchase of consumer goods offset the decline in energy prices.

Stocks in Review

GenCorp Inc. (GY) slid 2 cents to $13.81 after the aerospace and defense products maker said total revenues in the second quarter ending on February soared 20.7% to $243.7 million. In the quarter net loss swung to $14 million or 24 cents a diluted share compared to net income of $2.4 million or 4 cents.

The company''s order backlog as on February 28 was $1.56 billion from $1.53 billion in quarter ended in November.

NII Holdings, Inc. (NIHD) surged 15.4% or 70 cents to $5.24 after the communication service provider agreed to sell its Peruvian operations the indirect subsidiary, Nextel del Peru S.A. to Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones S.A. for nearly $400 million.

WD-40 Company (WDFC) gained 1.5% or 82 cents to $53.64 after the chemical products maker stated total revenues in the second quarter ending on February increased 1% to $86.7 million. Net income in the quarter slipped 1% to $10.46 million or 66 cents a diluted share compared to $10.58 million or 65 cents.

The company added gross profit in the quarter jumped 5% to $44 million.

Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc