Just 88,000 jobs were created in March, about 100,000 short of the number economists predicted as the national unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent.
The U.S. Postal Service lost 12,000 jobs alone. That development helps underscore the significance of the paltry number; analysts say it could mean that Americans are feeling worrisome about the economy — and that a portion of the longterm unemployed have quit looking for jobs.
“March’s job gain was less than half the average of 196,000 jobs in the previous six months,” the AP reports. “This could be the fourth straight year that the economy and hiring have shown strength early in the year, only to weaken afterward. Some economists say weak hiring may persist into summer before rebounding by fall.
“The percentage of working-age Americans with a job or looking for one fell to 63.3 percent in March, the lowest such figure in nearly 34 years.”