The American job creation engine hit stall speed in March.
Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in March, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday. Economists had expected a gain of 193,000. The monthly reading was a huge slip from 326,000 reported in February.
Unemployment held steady at 4.1 percent. A broader measure of unemployment that counts discouraged workers and part-timers who would prefer full-time work fell 0.2 percent to 8 percent. That is its lowest level in 11 years.
Construction lost 15,000 positions in March. Mining added 9,000. Manufacturing and health each added 22,0000. Professional and business services added 33,000 new jobs.
There’s no ready answer for why March fell so short of expectations. Poor weather? Trade war fears? A more volatile stock market? Falling sales? All of the above were cited by various economy watchers on Friday.