The United States created 98,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
January and February were revised downward. Service sector job creation was weak, while manufacturing and construction came in close to expectations.
The retail sector shed 30,000 jobs in March.
Job creation fell short of the 180,000 jobs forecast by economists surveyed by Reuters. Economists had expected job creation to fall in March, as unseasonably stormy weather lashed the Northeast during that month. February’s weather was unusually mild, which has led economists to think some jobs in weather-sensitive sectors like construction may have increased from previous months.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics non-farm payroll is the most closely watched metric to measure the labor market and is considered a reliable economic indicator.