U.S. employers added 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months and less than half the average job gains over the previous six months.
The weakness was apparent in nearly every major industry group. Several cut jobs. And only education and health services showed greater job growth in March than the previous month. Those businesses added 44,000 jobs, better than February's gain of 31,000.
Another positive sign was construction firms added 18,000 jobs. While that's nearly a third of the jobs added by those firms in February, the increases brought the 12-month total for the industry to 162,000 jobs. The housing recovery continues to lift the industry, which had suffered steep job losses after the housing bubble burst.
The hardest hit sector in March appeared to be retail, which cut 24,100 jobs. Some economists said the unusually cold weather may have led some businesses to hold off on hiring.
Here's a look at the jobs added or lost in each major industry category:
|Industry||March||February||Past 12 months|
|Information (Telecom, publishing)||5,000||19,000||25,000|
|Professional services (Accounting, temp work)||51,000||80,000||533,000|
|Education and health||44,000||31,000||365,000|
|Hotels, restaurants, entertainment||17,000||26,000||291,000|
|Source: Labor Department|