WASHINGTON (4/6/15)--After 12 straight months of 200,000-plus job adds, payroll employment cratered in March, decelerating to 126,000 jobs for the month (Economy.com April 3).
Goods producers lost 13,000 jobs, though the majority of the decline was driven by a drop in support services jobs.
"The job market is hitting some speed bumps," Perc Pineda, CUNA senior economist, told The Washington Post (April 3).
The poor month pushed the first quarter average to 197,000, the weakest performance since the first quarter of last year.
"The disappointing March employment report reflects some of the pressure facing U.S. employers," said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody's analyst (Economy.com). "Energy producers are adjusting to lower prices, and manufacturers are adjusting to less demand from the energy and agriculture industries and weaker demand from overseas."
Wage growth increased slightly in March, with average hourly earnings climbing 0.3%, pushing annual price growth to 2.1%. Average weekly earnings remained stagnant, as the average workweek dropped to 34.5 from 34.6.
The unemployment rate fell to 5.545% from 5.465%, and the labor force participation rate also fell to a post-recession low of 62.7%.
"To be sure, the labor market is still wrestling with the lingering effects of the Great Recession," Koropeckyj said. "The number of workers employed part-time involuntarily remains elevated, long-term unemployment remains high and the labor force participation rate has yet to turn around."