March Hiring Slower; Economy Adds Just 98K Jobs

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. hiring slowed last month, according to the government’s latest report out Friday. American employers added 98,000 jobs in March, far fewer than economists were expecting.

Enough Americans found work to drop the unemployment rate to 4.5 percent, the lowest in a decade and a sign the labor market is returning to a more normal pace.

There have been fewer unemployed Americans for businesses to choose from and an increase in wages may be needed to attract talent. Average hourly earnings last month increased by 5 cents.

There were employment gains in business services, health care and mining, while the retail sector suffered the biggest losses.

J.J. Kinahan from TD Ameritrade told ABC News the jump in mining jobs is one that can be credited to the Trump administration, which has shown support for the coal industry.

“Mining, an area that we saw bottom out in October of last year, created 11,000 jobs, so there’s an area of growth that I think they can certainly point to,” Kinahan said.

Thursday’s U.S. strike on Syria may have also impacted Friday’s jobs report.

“Under normal circumstances, this [report] might be viewed a little bit more favorably, but when we take into consideration the Syria situation, that geopolitical situation is weighing on the market a little bit,” Kinahan said.

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