The US unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low in March, despite the economy adding a smaller than expected number of jobs.
Employers added 98,000 jobs in March 2017 – far fewer than the 180,000 expected by economists and less than half the figure for January and February.
However, the unemployment rate fell from 4.7% in February to just 4.5% – the lowest since May 2007.
Anything under 5% is considered to indicate “full employment”.
The US economy needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs a month to keep pace with growth in the working-age population.
It had added more than 200,000 jobs in both January and February 2017, but March brought lower temperatures and a major storm to the North East, which was likely to have hit hiring.
Aberdeen Asset Management investment strategist Luke Bartholomew said the decline in job creation was another sign of a “pretty tight” labor market.
The dollar rose against the euro and pound, while the Dow Jones and S&P 500 were flat in morning trading in New York.
The US Labor Department also revised the number of jobs created in February down from 235,000 to 219,000, while the figure for January was lowered from 238,000 to 216,000.
The percentage of people in work or looking for a job held steady at 63%.