In a sign the U.S. economy may be in trouble, hiring declined sharply in March, with employers taking on only 126,000 new workers, far fewer than anticipated.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
U.S. employers sharply slowed their hiring in March to the weakest pace in more than a year, the latest sign that the economy stumbled during a first quarter that was hampered by harsh winter weather in parts of the country.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 126,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said Friday. That was the smallest gain since December 2013. The average monthly gain in the first quarter was 197,000, down from an average of 324,000 in the final three months of 2014.
The unemployment rate, derived from a separate survey of households, was unchanged at 5.5%.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected payrolls to rise a much stronger 248,000 in March, and predicted the unemployment rate would be steady at 5.5%.
Cold weather no doubt played a part in this, but the exceedingly low number suggests to some analysts that the problems with the economy may be organic.