THE ECONOMY: Subtle Sign Of a Slowdown

Subtle Sign Of a Slowdown

When the Government released its closely watched unemployment report for March last week, the figures seemed to give fresh evidence of economic strength. They showed an unexpected drop in the U.S. jobless rate to 5%, down from 5.1% in February and the lowest monthly rate in more than 15 years.

A closer look at the data, however, revealed an underlying weakness. The economy created only 180,000 new jobs in March, down sharply from the 280,000 that were added the previous month. The unemployment rate fell because relatively few new job seekers entered the labor force in March. Among other signs pointing...

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