U.S. Added 103K Jobs in March, Sharply Lower Than Expected

American companies added 103,000 employees in March, well below analysts' estimates of 185,000 and reflecting a tight labor market and cuts in the construction and retail sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, defying expectations of sinking to a 4 percent mark. Average hourly earnings rose 2.7 percent, up 0.3 percent from a month earlier. Financial markets were roiled this winter on fears that such wage increases could spark inflation, though it would also likely spur consumer spending.