This would feel like horse-race politics, employment edition, if only the stakes weren’t so high: The Department of Labor released employment data on Friday for the month of March, and the results didn’t match more optimistic projections for the blustery month.
The US economy added 120,000 jobs during March, lower than estimates suggested, while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.2%.
Analysts had predicted a fourth straight month with job growth of more than 200,000.
President Barack Obama’s electoral prospects are widely seen as linked to the economy and the jobs market.
Employment has been rising for the past six months, but the jobless rate has been stuck above 8% since early 2009.
The Department of Labor’s data shows the smallest growth in employment since October 2011.