The U.S. economy created only 88,000 new jobs in March, a number far below the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 193,000.

However, there were two qualifiers in the March report: job gain totals for February and January were revised substantially higher, up 61,000. The revised February total rose to 268,000 from the initial estimate of 236,000 new jobs, and the revised January total climbed to 148,000 from 119,000.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. However, that seeming improvement was offset by fewer Americans looking for work, the U.S. Labor Department said, which meant that many are no longer considered "officially unemployed." The labor force participation rate fell to its lowest level -- 63.3 percent -- since 1979.

Average hourly wages rose 1 cent in March to $23.82, and the workweek rose 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours.

Details to follow.