Report: Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.2% in March
The job market slowed in March as companies hit the brakes on hiring amid uncertainty about the economy's growth prospects. The unemployment rate dipped, but mostly because more Americans stopped looking for work.
The Labor Department says the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, down from more than 200,000 in each of the previous three months, The Associated Press reported.
The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, the lowest since January 2009. But the rate dropped because fewer people searched for jobs. The official unemployment tally only includes those seeking work.
Despite the pullback in March, the economy has added 858,000 jobs since December — the best four months of hiring in two years.
Slower job growth could threaten a recent rise in consumer confidence and dent investors' enthusiasm for stocks. It also could prove a setback for President Barack Obama's re-election hopes.
But economists noted that it's just one month after three solid gains.