Most economists agreed that the Labor Department's March employment report was discouraging.
U.S. employers pulled back sharply on hiring, adding just 88.000 jobs last month. That was the fewest in nine months and less than half the nearly 200,000 average job growth reported over the previous six months.
The U.S. unemployment rate did fall to a four-year low of 7.6 percent, down from 7.7 percent in February. But the rate dropped for the wrong reasons: More people stopped looking for work. People who are out of work are no longer counted as unemployed once they stop looking for a job.
Here are some details about how the job market fared for different groups last month:
|Unemployment rates for:|
|(Numbers in percentages)||March 2013 Feb. 2013 March 2012|
|20-24 years old:||13.3||13.1||13.2|
|25-54 years old:||6.4||6.5||7.0|
|55 and over:||5.5||5.8||6.2|
|Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*:||9.2||9.4||10.3|
|No high school diploma:||11.1||11.2||12.6|
|High school graduate:||7.6||7.9||8.0|
|Duration of Unemployment|
|Average length (weeks):||37.1||36.9||39.5|
|Jobless 6 months or more (pct.):||39.6||40.2||42.2|
|* not seasonally adjusted|
|Source: Labor Department|