Fewer workers are marching in the unemployment line, but the March employment report shows that many are not yet returning to work.
U.S. employers added 120,000 jobs in March, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate down to 8.2%, the Labor Department reported today (Friday). Economists were looking for 210,000 jobs to be added in March, and the unemployment rate to stay at 8.3% as more discouraged workers reentered the job market.
Most market participants will have to wait until Monday to react to the disappointing numbers as exchanges are closed in observance of the Good Friday holiday. However, the bond market is open in a shortened trading session, and the Dow futures tumbled some 111 points following the release.
The less than stellar March employment report conflicts with several recent private surveys that show the economy is improving.
The March Employment Report Numbers
In the previous month, employers added 227,000, slightly more than expected. February capped the best six-month streak for job additions since the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
Michael Erwin of CareerBuilder recently told ABC News, "Thirty percent of employers we spoke to say they plan to hire full-time positions in the second quarter." That compares with 24% in the last survey three months ago.
Erwin added, "The numbers are going back to where they were pre-recession so that's good news employers are back to the table, they're looking to hire."
Jobless claims are now down to their lowest level in four years, after falling to 357,000 in the final week of March, the Labor Department said Thursday in advance of the monthly jobs report.
While the decline in unemployment insurance claims is good news, it does not tell the whole story.