The two-tenths of a percentage point drop in the unemployment rate from 4.7 percent in February took it to its lowest level since May 2007.
Overall nonfarm payrolls rose by 98,000 jobs, the slowest pace in almost a year, though the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%, its lowest since May of 2007, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. In the first three months of this year, job gains have averaged 178,000 per month.
Good news: The unemployment rate continued to fall, however, with large numbers of women, teens and Latinos finding jobs.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing 180,000 last month and the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.7 per cent.
Average hourly earnings increased 5 cents or 0.2 percent in March after rising 0.3 percent in February.
Overall, the jobs report showed the economy adding about 98,000 jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate dipping to 4.5 percent. As a matter of fact, this is the second-warmest February on record, during which the construction industry added several more jobs than it had in the last decade. The figure was well off the 219,000 positions created in February. With modest job gains in March, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy needs to pause ahead of its proposed interest rate hike in June. Retail trade lost 30,000 jobs, while manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, and information saw little change during the month, it said.
The Labor Department highlighted job growth in the professional and business services and mining sectors, which added 56,000 jobs and 11,000 jobs, respectively. Stephen Poloz, the bank's governor, said on March 28 that the economy had a lot more room to grow, with higher unemployment and more excess capacity than the United States.
It was an off month for the labor market as struggling retailers employ fewer workers.
A low level of layoffs typically coincides with steady employment growth.
Hiring was off sharply for education and health services providers. They added just 16,000 net new jobs in March, the fewest in 15 months, after payrolls had increased by 66,000 in February.