According to a report published in The New York Times on Friday, the nation's employers raised their payrolls by 88,000 in March, compared with 2,68,000 in the month before, according to a report released by the Labour Department during the day. The unemployment rate ticked down by just 0.1 pr cent.
The slight fall in unemployment did not materialise because more people were employed but because the number of people engaged in the labour force, i.e., working or searching for work, fell.
The labour force's participation rate has not been so low since 1979 when women were not regular employees as they are today. According to economic experts, pessimism about job prospects in a mediocre economy is playing a big role behind the low labour force participation.
The job gains achieved in March were mainly professional and businesses services and healthcare but the government continued to drop employees as has the practice been for most of the last four years. Economists fear that more government lay-offs are expected in the coming months as an effect of the Congress's across-the-board budget cuts.
John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics, said the scenario was disappointing but reiterated that some positives were also seen as the numbers suggest an upward revision. He said that the government revised the net growth of January and February upward by over 60,000 jobs, said the newspaper report.
Comparatively low-wage sectors like food services and retail accounted for a big share of the job growth in the last few years. One report said that a majority of the jobs which were lost during the meltdown were in the middle wage range and a large number of those added during the recovery period are low-paying ones.