U.S. Probably Added 150,000 Fewer Jobs in Year Through March

The U.S. job market probably was a little less robust in the year through March than previously estimated, government figures showed.

The number of workers added to U.S. payrolls will probably be revised down by 150,000, which is 0.1 percent of the 143.7 million people employed as of March, the Labor Department said Wednesday in preliminary benchmark projections for final revisions due next year. The current estimate for net hiring in the 12 months ended in March shows a gain of about 2.8 million. 

The report suggests that the labor market was slightly weaker than previously measured in the months covered by the revisions, even as the economy approaches full employment. Federal Reserve policy makers, who meet later this month, are debating whether to raise interest rates for the first time since December.

Sectors showing smaller payrolls than initially estimated include retail; professional and business services; and education and health services. Manufacturing; construction; and transportation and warehousing probably had more workers than reported, according to the Labor Department.

The final annual benchmark revisions to payrolls will be issued with the January employment data released on Feb. 3. The Labor Department uses records from state jobless benefit tax records to benchmark its employment data.

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