Just 120,000 Jobs Added, But Jobless Rate Dips To 8.2 Percent

The nation’s unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

We’ll be updating with more from the report and reactions to it, so hit your “refresh” button to make sure you’re seeing our latest updates.

Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. A Pause?

It’s worth noting that on Morning Edition, NPR’s John Ydstie reported that economists think job growth is going to slow a bit in coming months in part because employers have now refilled many of the positions they cut after the financial crisis of 2008 and will pause to see how the economy’s doing before ramping up hiring again. That process may have begun in March.

Update at 8:47 a.m. ET. February Growth Revised Upward:

While the March increase in payroll employment was well below economists’ forecasts, BLS did revise upward its estimate of job growth in February. It initially said about 227,000 jobs were added to payrolls that month. Now, it says about 240,000 jobs were added.

Update at 8:44 a.m. ET. Why The Rate Stayed Down Despite Weak Job Growth:

The Associated Press writes that the jobless rate declined “because fewer people searched for jobs. The official unemployment count only includes those seeking work.” Indeed, the size of the labor force declined by 164,000 people, to 154.7 million, as the labor “participation rate” dipped to 63.8 percent from 63.9 percent in February (and 64.2 percent in March 2011).

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. Well Below Expectations:

As we reported earlier, economists thought BLS would say that about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.

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