Economists had projected the unemployment rate to drop to 4.0% for the first time since 2000, but that milestone wasn't to be in March: The jobless rate held steady at 4.1% for the sixth consecutive month, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 103,000 jobs were added, well below an expected 178,000. But even with revisions to January and February, the Q1 average sits at 202,000, up from 182,000 a year prior.
The AP's take: "the labor market remains healthy." It notes that hiring has accelerated since last fall, defying expectations that a shortage of workers would make it harder for companies to fill open positions. Employers have added a healthy average of 211,000 jobs a month in the past six months. Average hourly pay ticked up in March, too, climbing 2.7% compared with a year earlier.
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