Nonfarm payrolls grew by just 98,000 in March though the unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low of 4.5 percent, according to a closely watched report Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Payrolls had been expected to increase by 180,000 in March, according to economists surveyed by Reuters.
“What a number. This makes your jaw drop,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets.
A more encompassing measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers those at work part-time for economic reasons fell three-tenths to 8.9 percent, the lowest level since December 2007.