Job gains were fairly broad based.

Health care led with 49,000 new workers, professional and technical services added 34,000 and food and drinking establishments contributed 27,000. Construction rose by 16,000 but manufacturing saw 6,000 jobs lost.

The numbers came a month after February’s jaw-dropping gain of just 20,000, which was revised up to 33,000 in the March report. January’s big increase of 311,000 also got pushed up a nudge to 312,000, bringing the average gain over the past three months to 180,000. That’s still solid though below the 233,000 average monthly gain for all of 2018.

Household survey data showed there were 201,000 fewer people counted as employed, but that came with a contraction of the labor force by 224,000. Those counted as not in the labor force increased by 369,000 to 95.6 million.The labor force participation rate declined to 63%, down 0.2 percentage points to its lowest level since November.

The total employment level nudged down to 156.7 million, while those counted as unemployed also edged lower to just over 6.2 million.


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