The United States in March gained 120,000 jobs, disappointing expectations for greater employment growth, while the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.2% from 8.3% last month, the Labor Department reported Friday.
However, with the U.S. stock market closed for the Easter and Passover holidays, and the bond market open for just a few hours, reaction to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) jobs report was lackluster.
Bill Gross said on PIMCO’s Twitter feed: “What is the quality of new jobs? Almost entirely service & most w/o healthcare & other benefits. America in relative decline.”
But in a spot of bright news for the “financial activities” sector, employment was reported up by 15,000 in March, with 11,000 jobs added in credit intermediation, the BLS said. The financial activities unemployment rate is now 5.7% compared with 7.1% a year ago.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in March, with jobs growth of 31,000. “Employment in the industry has grown by 1.4 million since a recent low point in September 2009,” the BLS reported.
Economists in a Bloomberg survey had predicted a gain of 205,000 jobs in March, following the creation of 240,000 jobs in February. Employment rose by an average of 246,000 in each of the last three months.