The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs in March, pushing the unemployment rate down to 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
While the jobs added brought the unemployment rate down for the same month it rose in Europe, the addition of only 120,000 jobs will likely disappoint investors, observers said.
Not only did the gain fall short of the 203,000 new jobs forecast, it was the lowest addition since November, which also posted a gain of 120,000 jobs.
For the months in between, December, January and February, the economy added 200,000, 243,000 and 227,000 jobs, respectively.
President Obama commented on Friday's jobless rate during remarks at a White House forum focusing on women and economic issues.
"We welcome today's news that our businesses created another 121,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate ticked down," Obama said. "Our economy has now created more than 4 million private sector jobs over the past two years, and more than 600,000 in the past three months alone.
However, he said, "it's clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way, and that we've got a lot more work to do."
A burst of hiring in the winter of 2010-2011 slowed considerably by late spring and remained low through the summer and fall.
Statistics show 12.7 million people are listed as out of work. Demographically, the unemployment rate is 7.6 percent for adult men and 7.4 percent for adult women. Among teenagers, the jobless rate is 25 percent.
For whites, blacks and Hispanics, the unemployment rates were 7.3 percent, 14 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.
The number of people listed as long-term unemployed (having not worked for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 5.3 percent.
For those workers, often new training or a new career choice is necessary, in many cases because technology or the recession or both eliminated their old jobs.
In addition, 2.4 million people are listed as marginally attached to the workforce, a number essentially unchanged from a year earlier.
Marginally attached refers to people no longer counted in the workforce although they looked for a job sometime in the past 12 months.
Job sectors adding jobs included manufacturing (up by 37,000 in March), leisure and hospitality (up by 37,000) healthcare (up by 26,000) and financial services (up by 15,000), the department said.