The U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in March according to the monthly employment report released today by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This seasonally adjusted figure is a 68.4 percent decrease from February's upwardly revised addition of 326,000 jobs, and marks a 41 percent increase from last March, when 73,000 jobs were created. This reading fails to meet economists' expectations that 178,000 new jobs would be added last month.

This reading confirms a prediction from Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi that job gains in BLS' report would could come in soft, due to a series of storms in the northeast that occurred during survey week for the March employment report.

Unemployment was unchanged for the sixth consecutive month, holding steady at an 18-year low of 4.1 percent in March. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal have predicted that the unemployment rate would fall to 4.0 percent during the past two months, which would mark the lowest rate of joblessness since December 2000.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents in March to $26.82, a 71-cent (or 2.7 percent) increase from a year prior. Wage growth is expected to pick up in coming months, which should help to relieve the low levels of wage growth seen in the first half of last year despite a tighter labor market.

As part of ADP's employment report announcement on Wednesday, Zandi also noted that wage growth in 2018 has been more appropriate relative to employment growth. "We're on track to [see growth of hourly earnings] closer to 3 percent year-over-year," Zandi said. If hourly wages increase 3 percent in 2018, it will be the most significant year-over-year increase seen since 2009, when the Great Recession ended.

Following a large gain of 65,000 jobs in February, overall construction industry employment decreased by 15,000 positions last month, to a total of 7.15 million jobs. March's decline is attributed to a 16,200 decrease in employment of specialty trade contractors, and decrease of 3,600 jobs in heavy and civil engineering. However, employment related to construction of residential and nonresidential buildings increased by 4,600 positions, to a total of 1.59 million jobs. Residential building construction increased by 2,400 positions to a total of 782,400, while nonresidential building construction jobs increased by 2,200 to 803,700 total positions.

Employment in the manufacturing industry rose by 22,000 jobs in March. As seen in February, last month's gains are attributed to a increase of 22,000 jobs in durable goods industries.

Meanwhile, payrolls in architectural and engineering services decreased by 2,800 jobs in March, to a total of 1.46 million positions. This is the first time employment in architectural and engineering services has decreased in 22 months. However, March's seasonally adjusted figure is still 2.7 percent higher than a year prior, when a total of 1.42 million positions were reported.

Read the full release here.