The U.S. Labor Department reported
Friday morning that the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent in March, but cautioned that the month's gains were the lowest increase since December 2013 and far below analysts' estimates.
Non-farm related jobs rose 126,000 in March while the goods-producing sector shed 13,000 jobs. March's weak numbers ended 12 straight months of 200,000-plus job gains, the longest streak in more than a decade.
The Labor Department also revealed some more bad news: data for January and February was revised to show 69,000 fewer jobs had been created than previously reported.
But there is some good news: average hourly earnings increased by 7 cents.