The economy added just 120,000 jobs in March, a sharp slowdown from the pace of the prior three months where growth averaged 246,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest employment report. The slowdown was pretty much across all sectors, with manufacturing, which added 37,000 jobs in March, being the major exception. In spite of the weak job growth, however, the unemployment rate edged down from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent.
One very discouraging item in the report was a 0.1 hour drop in the length of the average workweek. The drop was driven largely by a decline of 0.3 hours in nondurable manufacturing, a sector where hours tend to be better measured. Wages continue to go nowhere. The average hourly wage has increased at just a 1.85 percent annual rate over the last quarter, which likely puts it behind inflation. The wage for production, non-supervisory workers, which better tracks the median wage, increased at just a 1.37 percent annual rate over this period.
For a more in-depth analysis, check out the latest Jobs Byte.