Overall nonfarm payrolls rose by 98,000 jobs, the slowest pace in almost a year, though the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%, its lowest since May of 2007, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
In February, private-sector employment increased by 7,000 jobs to 3,239,900, while public sector payrolls increased by 4,400 jobs to 717,800, according to the statement. Wall Street also got a boost, with financial activities gaining 9,000 as part of a 178,000-position expansion over the past 12 months. The unemployment rate for teens dropped to 13.7 percent from 15 percent. The labor-force participation rate was unchanged at 63%, remaining near the lowest level in decades as the baby boomer generation continues to entire retirement.
Turning to metrics of tightness in the labor market, average hourly earnings rose by $0.05, which translates to an annual rate of 2.3 percent. The pace of job growth was sharply down from an average of almost 218,000 in the first two months of the year.
The U.S. central bank lifted its overnight interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point in March and has forecast two more hikes this year.
"The slowdown in payroll growth is exactly what you would expect when the economy closes in on full employment", he said. And a snowstorm that slammed into the Midwest and East Coast in mid-March likely further curtailed job growth, says economist Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics.
The number of people working and the unemployment rate are determined based on a survey of households, while the job-creation figures are calculated from payroll records provided by employers.More news: John Oliver Walks Us Through the Upcoming French Presidential Election
It's also dramatically lower than the 235,000 new jobs that were reported in February, the first month of Trump's presidency.
Employment increased in professional and business services and in mining, but that couldn't offset shrinking employment in the retail sector.
The number of workers unemployed in OH in February was 294,000, up 7,000 from 287,000 in January.
Despite the decline, Meigs County held steady in second place out of 88 counties, in terms of having the highest unemployment rate in the state. And wages continued to show solid growth.
A low level of layoffs typically coincides with steady employment growth.