U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls Rise 120,000 (Update2)
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The government said Friday that U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 120,000 in March while the unemployment rate fell to 8.2% from 8.3% in February.
On average, economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting payrolls to increase by 200,000 and the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 8.3%. The worse-than-expected payroll number boosted bonds but hurt stock futures.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said employment increased in manufacturing, food services and health care but fell in retail.
Private-sector payrolls increased by 121,000, while government employment was virtually unchanged.
The average workweek for private-sector employees slipped by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in March. Average hourly earnings rose by 5 cents, or 0.2%, to $23.39.
Also Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised nonfarm payrolls for February upward to 240,000 from the previously reported 227,000. January's payrolls were revised lower, to 275,000 from 284,000.
The U.S. stock market was closed in observance of Good Friday, but investors were clearly disappointed as stock futures fell. U.S. bond markets were open until noon EDT.
At the CME, where futures traded until 9:15 a.m. EDT, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures closed down 131 points, or 1%, at 12,847 after hitting a low of 12,837.
S&P 500 futures closed at 1375, down 15 points or 1.1%, after slumping as low as 1372.50.
Treasury prices rose on the news, pushing yields lower.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to 2.05% from about 2.20% before the report was released.
Economists acknowledged that the payrolls number was a disappointment, but some said it's likely a hiccup rather than a significant change in labor-market trends.