Fusion, data via BLS

The U.S. economy added just 126,000 jobs in March, the smallest gain since 2013.

Young adults didn't fare much better, especially 20- to 24-year-olds.

That group's labor force participation rate, which measures the number of unemployed and employed as a percent of their overall population, fell to its lowest level in at least a decade. There are now 6,866,000 of them not in the labor force, an all-time high.


That group saw a 291,000 drop in overall employment — the largest decline since January 2009. Here's the chart:

March was a bit better for 25- to 34-year-olds, who saw an overall employment gain of 11,000, although this was the smallest increase in almost a year. Their labor force participation rate actually climbed to 81.4 percent from 81.2 percent.


The unemployment rate for the younger group climbed to 10.4 percent from 10 percent for March, the highest since December. For the older group, unemployment hit 5.6 percent, up from 5.4 percent.

Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics, isn't worried yet, although it could affect the timing for when the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.


"The well-below consensus 126,000 increase in non-farm payrolls in March, particularly when combined with the downward revisions to the gains in January and February, will raise fears that the labour market is imploding," he said in a note to clients. "It isn't. That said, a slowdown in the pace of employment growth might delay the Fed's first rate hike until September, particularly when added to the signs of slower GDP growth in Q1."

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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