Fewer US jobs added in March, but unemployment falling

Employers added only 88,000 jobs in March.
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New numbers from the Labor Department reveal good and bad news on the jobs front.

After a strong start to the new year, it appears that is fading with the latest jobs report from March. While employers added only 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months, the unemployment rate fell from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent, which is the lowest in four years.

Signs of a slowdown were apparent in the construction sector possibly because of cold weather. There were also steep job cuts in both retail and government work, including 12,000 jobs at the US Postal Service.

Economists say the weakness in March may signal some companies were worried about the sequester. However, they say the fallout from automatic budget cuts will slowly take effect over the course of the year.

According to the Labor Department, the March report showed continued gains in professional and business services (+51,000), health care (+23,000) and construction (+18,000). But retail trade employment experienced a decline of 24,000 jobs after an average of 32,000 jobs added over the prior six months.

See a statement from the Labor Department about today's jobs numbers.