The job market has remained steady through most of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. However, during the month of March employers added fewer jobs than any other month in almost a year. The numbers are discouraging because job growth is one of the greatest indicators of economic recovery. In February, 268,000 jobs were added to the market and in March, only 88,000 jobs were created. The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.6% during March. Experts say the decline in unemployment was prompted by nearly a half-million workers leaving the job market and not by growth. This decline was the result of layoffs, retirements and other reasons.
The decline in job growth is not a new trend; it’s also referred to as a “springtime swoon.” It is not uncommon for hiring to start strong early in the year and wilt away as the weather warms. Some economists believe that March’s report may represent a payback for the significant growths during January and February. Others attributed the decline to budget turmoil in Washington or unusually cold weather in parts of the country. No matter the reason, analysts cautioned against reading too much into the rates from only one month. During March, employers added 20,000 temporary workers and 18,000 construction workers, which reflects the recovery of the real estate market. Sectors such as transportation lost jobs during the month of March.
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