Employers in the United States added a lower-than-expected 126,000 jobs in March, according to the US Labor Department, following 12 straight months of gains above 200,000.
Economic observers say the weakened economic growth is due in part to harsh winter weather, especially in the Northeast, a drop in oil prices, and the sluggish construction sector. Manufacturing and government both dropped jobs, while restaurants positions fell steeply from February.
“While March’s numbers aren’t as robust as we’ve seen over the last year, overall trends remain solid, and there is every reason to be optimistic about our economic trajectory going forward,” said Labor Department Secretary Thomas E. Perez. “We’ve made incredible strides since the depths of the Great Recession, but there’s more work to do to make sure every person can benefit from this recovery. There’s more to do to strengthen and grow our middle class.”