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Employers hired fewer workers than forecast in March and a slump in the size of the labor force pushed the jobless rate down to a four-year low, indicating the U.S. job market is struggling to make bigger strides.

Payrolls grew by 88,000 workers last month, the smallest in nine months, after a revised 268,000 gain in February that was higher than first estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 87 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected an advance of 190,000. The jobless rate fell to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent.

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