U.S. employers added just 98,000 jobs in March, the fewest in a year, though the unemployment rate fell to a nearly 10-year low of 4.5 percent.
Last month’s weakness in hiring may point to sluggishness in the economy, but unusual weather might also have been a factor. Job gains in January and February had averaged a robust 218,000, fueled partly by strong hiring in construction, which occurred because of unseasonably warm winter weather.
As a result, economists had expected a falloff in hiring in March. Still, the drop last month was worse than expected.
It its jobs report Friday, the government also revised down the job growth for January and February by a combined 38,000. And it reported that average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in March from February and have risen 2.7 percent over the past 12 months.
The unemployment rate fell because nearly a half-million more Americans reported