NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Stocks ended down Friday following a worse-than-expected jobs report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down 40.86 points, the S&P 500 sank 6.7 points and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 21.12 points.
Employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest number in nine months, and analysts fear it could signal the economy is heading into a weak spring, CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reported.
The report also showed the unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent — the lowest in four years– which if taken alone, could be viewed as an encouraging sign, but economists say it’s anything but.
Analysts believe the numbers only dropped so low because more people stopped looking for work and those people are no longer tallied in unemployment figures.
The March report is discouraging after several months of job growth and increased consumer spending.
Former ad executive John Yarusi is trying to make ends meet at a coffee shop in New Jersey, but he’s still hoping to find work in the advertising industry where he ran his own agency until the recession put him out of business.
“I thought I’d do advertising my whole life,” Yarusi said. “I thought this is it, I love it. And here I am working in a coffee business.”
Some experts believe the January tax hikes are finally catching up with consumers and causing them to tighten the purse strings, but analysts said a growing housing market could offset an economic slowdown.
“I personally don’t think there is any reason to question the recovery,” J.P. Morgan managing director Jim Glassman said. “There’s all kinds of signs all around that things are starting to happen.”
Experts said healthcare and professional services are showing the strongest job growth but the retail and government sectors are both cutting back.
More than 11 million Americans are currently out of work.