After months of pumping out new jobs at a steady clip, the world's largest economy added only 98,000 net new positions last month, the Labor Department reported Friday - a figure far below analyst expectations.
"After the unseasonably warm January and February, which pushed monthly job gains back above 200,000, there was always going to be some pay back in March, when the weather snapped back to seasonal norms, including some heavy snowstorms", wrote Paul Ashworth, chief US economist for Capital Economics.
In March, temperatures dropped and a storm lashed the Northeast, and economists said bad weather accounted for the stepdown in hiring.
The unemployment rate slid to 4.5 percent from 4.7% - its lowest rate since May 2007.
"We still believe the USA labor market is in a good place", says Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci said their are positive indicators conditions are improving for those looking for work.
The labor market is expected to hit full employment this year.
The U.S. unemployment rate for February 2017 was 4.7 percent, 0.1 percentage points lower than in January 2017, and 0.2 percentage points lower than in February 2016.
The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies as were prices for U.S. Treasuries. Economists, on average, were expecting jobs growth of 175,000, according to a survey by Econoday. We really should be averaging 246,000 new jobs per month to close it in a reasonable time frame, and we're not. In February - the first jobs report that Trump took credit for - that rate rose to 8.1 percent. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.7 percent, slightly lower than the 2.8 percent growth in the previous month. Most of the wage gains are going to supervisors. It seemed to break out of its funk some time around the middle part of last year and that trend looks to still be in place: "that employment and the broader economy have broken out of a two-year lull", he said.
"I definitely think the economy is getting better".
All told, employers added 98,000 jobs in March. Many economists have predicted a gain of around 175,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of approximately 4.7% for the month of March.
Within New Brunswick, March unemployment rates ranged from a low of 3.2 in Edmundston-Woodstock to a high of 11.5 per cent in Campbellton-Miramichi. Before he was elected, Trump regularly accused the government of putting out "phony" economic data, suggesting that the "true" unemployment rate was likely as high as 42 percent.
Retail payrolls are expected to rebound after declining by the most since December 2012. Yet, out of the jobs gained by women, most were in education and health services, and the retail sector - which is largely composed of women - lost 30,000 jobs. Government workers ask whether the adults in a household have done any work for pay that week.