Nearly half a million Americans stopped looking for work in March as U.S. employers added only 88,000 jobs, well below the expected print of 190K, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The labor force participation rate fell to 63.3 percent, its lowest point since 1979, sending the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent, down from its previous rate of 7.7 percent.

And before players in the media start trying to tie today’s report to the March 1 automatic spending cuts, it’s important to note that retail declined by 24,000 jobs.

Also, and this is very interesting, despite the decline in U.S. Postal Service jobs (definitely not a new thing), the U.S. government added net 9,000 jobs, according to the post-sequestration BLS report.

“Within government, U.S. Postal Service employment fell by 12,000 in March,” the report reads. “Employment in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, state government, and local government, showed little change over the month.”

Here’s are the unemployment numbers broken up by group:

  • Men: 6.9 percent
  • Adult women: 7.0 percent
  • Teenagers: 24.2 percent
  • Whites: 6.7 percent
  • Blacks: 13.3 percent
  • Hispanics: 9.2 percent
  • Asians: 5.0 percent (not seasonally adjusted

The number of people on long-term unemployment (i.e. those who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks) in March was about 4.6 million. This accounts for roughly 39.6 percent of total unemployment.

Part time employment (i.e. “individuals … working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job”) fell by 350,000 in March to 7.6 million.

“In March, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier,” the report claims. “These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.”

“They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey,” it adds.

It continues:

Among the marginally attached, there were 803,000 discouraged workers in March, little changed from a year earlier … Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities

Reaction to the report has been mixed:

Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March
Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March
Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent, Only 88K Jobs Added in March

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