After adding more than 200,000 jobs in each of the first two months of this year, the U.S. economy gained only 98,000 jobs in March, according to the monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That result falls short of expectations: While analysts had anticipated a slight dip to around 180,000 new jobs, they had been looking for signs that job growth would keep pace with recent gains.
Unemployment fell to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent, the Labor Department agency says. That's the lowest rate since May 2007.
In addition to the data for March, the BLS also stripped nearly 40,000 jobs from its previous estimates for January and February, revising its findings for those months from 238,000 to 216,000 for January and from 235,000 to 219,000 for February.