U.S. job market cools in March, growth reaches a 10-month low

Donald Trump and the White House were eager to take credit for the strong job reports in January and February. Team Trump will probably be a bit more circumspect about the totals for March.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 98,000 jobs in March, less than half the number created in the preceding months. The unemployment rate, however, inched lower to 4.5%, the lowest since the summer of 2007, before the start of the Great Recession.

As for the revisions, both January’s and February’s totals were revised down a little, and combined they show a net loss of 38,000 jobs.

I’d caution against making broad assumptions about the direction of the job market based on one monthly report. As we’ve seen for years, the numbers ebb and flow, and disappointing reports are often followed by encouraging ones. That said, March’s 98,000 jobs were far short of projections, and not consistent with the kind of robust job market we’ve seen lately.

Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush and Trump administrations, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.