March Sees Fewest Job Gains in Nine Months

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A slowdown in March job gains has experts questioning the strength of the market for the spring season.

U.S. employers added only 88,000 jobs last month - the fewest in nine months.

March's job gain was less than half the average of 196,000 jobs in the previous six months.

The percentage of working Americans, or those looking for jobs, fell to 63.3 percent. It is the lowest figure in nearly 34 years.

In addition, several agencies cut back sharply on hiring. Retailers cut 24,000 jobs after averaging 32,000 in the previous three months. Manufacturers cut 3,000 jobs after adding 19,000 the previous month. Financial services shed 2,000.

However, the Labor Department announced Friday that unemployment is the lowest it's been in four years. The rate dipped from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent.

Experts attribute the drop to the fact that more people have stopped looking for work all-together.

They say reduced paychecks on account of higher taxes and new government spending cuts could slow growth in the spring and summer.

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