Could those tax hikes and budget cuts be taking a toll already? The March jobs report fell far short of expectations, with only 88,000 new jobs created. Economists had expected about 200,000 additional jobs. The good news is that estimates for previous months were raised, meaning the unemployment rate dropped from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent. Labor-force participation, however, is still weak, with only 63.3 percent of the population employed or looking for work, the lowest point since 1979.