Employment gains in leisure and hospitality (+4,000), educational and health services (+3,900), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,000), and professional and business services (+100) surpassed losses in financial activities (-400), information (-300), and other services (-100). The more significant bad news was that job creation for January and February was revised downward by a total of 38,000.
According to the minutes of Fed's policy meeting in March, central bank officials would continue to raise interest rates this year and consider reduce its balance sheet later this year, on the expectation that the economy is improving as expected. The retail industry overall has lost 89,000 jobs since a recent high in October 2016.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast 5,000 new positions and said the jobless rate would increase to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent in February. That figure is down from the 187,000 monthly average a year ago. There were gains in services to buildings and dwellings (property management, for instance), as well as architectural and engineering services, which bodes well for the property sector. Just 6,000 construction workers got new job in March.
Many economists expect hiring to fall back eventually to last year's pace or even lower as the unemployment rate declines and companies struggle to fill jobs.
Wage growth was not as strong either, with average hourly earnings up by 2.7 percent on an annualized basis.
According to ADP, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 263,000 jobs in March. The pace of job growth was sharply down from an average of almost 218,000 in the first two months of the year. "They were not going to go in May, and there are still going to be two more employment reports before the June meeting", said Mark Cabana, head of USA short rates strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in NY. Those who are neither employed nor looking for a job are considered not in the labor force.
The difference largely comes down to the number actively seeking work.
The unemployment rate fell because almost a half-million more Americans reported finding jobs, the Labor Department said.
"No one should be obsessed with a single jobs report", says Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Mutual Funds. That lowered the number of unemployed and cut the unemployment rate.