Financial markets that were initially spooked by USA missile strikes against Syria Thursday night and the U.S.jobs report Friday that showed payroll gains slowed in March.
The declines mirrored a broader slowdown in hiring.
Retail trade employment dropped by 30,000 in March, likely due to the end of the holiday shopping season. The two-tenths of a percentage point drop in the unemployment rate from 4.7 percent in February took it to its lowest level since May 2007.
Among the demographic groups of working people, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.0%), white people (3.9%) and Hispanic people (5.1%) declined in March.
After President Donald Trump boasted about a hefty jobs report in February, the jobs report for March, which was released Friday, had mixed and somewhat disappointing results.
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Employers added just 98,000 jobs, the Labor Department said. In October, the San Francisco Fed said the USA economy now only needs to add about 75,000 jobs a month, and possibly as few as 50,000, to keep the economy on an even keel.
PNC Bank economist Gus Faucher says the job market "is getting tighter and business are finding it more hard to hire". Those increases were offset slightly by a 2,300-job decline in the transit and ground passenger transportation sector, a 1,200-position decrease in the courier and messenger segment, and minor drops in the rail and warehousing and storage sectors, each down 200 jobs, and pipeline transportation, down 100 jobs.
The industry added 4,700 jobs in March, as construction and manufacturing added fewer jobs than the previous month. And initial jobless claims, a barometer of layoffs, rose steadily through the month. It was the lowest gain since May 2016 and one of the lowest of the 8-year-old recovery, but the seasonally adjusted net gain still marked the 78th consecutive month of overall job growth.
However, the unemployment rate remains high for black Americans.
Online shopping is taking its toll on traditional retailers who can no longer compete on price or convenience as they once did. This time a year ago the jobless rate was 3.7 per cent.