NEW YORK -- After a year of strong job growth, hiring slowed abruptly last month. Employers only added 126,000 jobs in March, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.5 percent.
"This report was about half as strong as people expected," said Bank of America economist Ethan Harris.
Harris says the brutal winter may have played a role.
"I don't think this means the economy's crashing or anything, but it has been disappointing," said Harris.
The subpar numbers come as the summer hiring season approaches.
New York City runs the largest summer jobs program for teenagers in the country, but for 133,000 applicants last year the city had just 47,000 jobs.
"There aren't enough jobs for the young people who want to work," said Bill Chong, who runs the city's Department of Youth and Community Development.
Around 60 percent of teenagers in America had summer jobs in 1978; last summer it was just 33 percent. And the recession, Chong says, isn't the only reason for the decline.
"I think the economy has changed," said Chong. "A lot of the low wage jobs that used to be available to a young person as entry level positions are being taken by adults."
Adrian Gonzalez is trying to improve the odds for teenagers. The 17-year-old, who learned computer code through a city job last summer, is now testing an application, with two friends, that will connect high school students with local businesses.
"There's a map, for them to find the closest jobs to them," explained Gonzalez. "There are filters so they can find jobs whether that is through how much they would like to get paid, the type of job they want."
He thinks it could be a multi-billion dollar market.
"If we capture one percent of that we're already millionaires," he said.
These summer jobs are considered critical because for every year a teenager works, studies show their incomes will rise 14 percent to 16 percent in their 20s.