But the nation's jobless rate still edged down to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. That dip wasn't for a good reason, though: Nearly half a million fewer people were participating in the labor force. That smaller pool meant the jobless rate could tick down even as job growth was weak.
Good morning. I'm David Greene, with a story of a harried sports fan - or, rather, a hairy sports fan. Thomas McAllister believes in his Washington, D.C. team so much that he's vowing not to shave until one of them - the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals or Nationals - wins a championship. The Washington Post says he hasn't shaved since last June, a day before he got married. Facebook followers have given his red fan beard a name: Lombeardi.
There's breaking budget news from several places this morning:
-- "President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say." (The New York Times)
Its state bird is a Western Meadowlark. Its state tree is Douglas Fir. Now Oregon wants a state microbe. Saccharomyces cerevisiae - try saying that twice - is a kind of yeast used in beer. And State Representative Mark Johnson thinks making it Oregon's official microbe is a great way to celebrate the state's craft beer industry. Oregon is also proud of its wine. A type of dirt that's used to grow pinot noire grapes is the state's official soil.
GLEN CAMPBELL: And the Wichita lineman is still on the line....
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
We're listening to Glen Campbell here, with his ode to the Wichita lineman, a song that topped the charts in 1968. It might seem a long time ago, but it's still more recent than when the Wichita State Shockers last made it to the men's Final Four. That would be 1965, when the Shockers lost to legendary Coach John Wooden's UCLA team.
From 'Morning Edition': Yuki Noguchi talks with David Greene
Update at 8:41 a.m. ET.: Job Growth Slows Sharply, But Unemployment Rate Dips
Although economists had been expecting to hear that the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in March, the news is out and the number is far less. Just 88,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls, the Labor Department reports. The jobless rate still edged down to 7.6 percent — but only because nearly half a million fewer people were in the labor force.
The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tomorrow. Louisville plays Wichita State and Syracuse faces Michigan. On the women's side, it's Louisville again. They're playing California. Notre Dame is playing Connecticut. These quartets of teams, of course, are known as the Final Four, and this stage in the tournament is a resume booster for teams and coaches. NPR's Mike Pesca ponders the question of why college basketball, unique among major team sports, celebrates the semi finalists.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that's traded largely online. It was created in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as an alternative to currencies which are controlled by countries and central bankers. But Bitcoin has been on a wild ride lately, soaring in value during the anxious days of the Cyprus banking crisis.
We're going to look at the currency's history in today's Business Bottom Line. Here's NPR's Steve Henn.
The Labor Department on Friday reported the nation's unemployment rate inched down to 7.6 percent in March, the lowest rate in four years, mainly due to more people stopping their search for work. In February, the job rate was 7.7 percent.
Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died Thursday. He was known for his thumbs-up, thumbs-down TV reviews that influenced moviegoers across the nation. On Wednesday, he had announced on his blog that he was undergoing radiation treatment after a recurrence of cancer. Ebert was 70.
Let's go now to the Great Plains, where farmers are preparing for what could be a tough growing season. They are scrambling to find irrigation water, which is scarce in the midst of the region's persistent drought. In eastern Colorado, thirsty cities have gobbled up water rights for decades, selling what they don't need back to farmers.
As Luke Runyon from member station KUNC reports, the agreement only works when water is plentiful.
Now former Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling could be released early from federal prison, as part of a reduced sentencing agreement under consideration at the Justice Department. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the collapse of the energy trading giant.
We have been hearing a lot about North Korea and nuclear weapons lately. Well, nuclear negotiators have just wrapped up a first day of talks on Iran's nuclear program. Tehran does not have nuclear weapons and insists it doesn't want them, but six world powers say the country must do more to assure the world that its program is entirely peaceful. We spoke earlier with NPR's Peter Kenyon, who is in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the talks. Peter, good morning.
The United States has pledged to remain committed to Afghanistan beyond the year 2014. That's when the U.S. and its NATO allies are set to hand over the security mission to Afghan forces. But the U.S. has not yet said how many troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, and that is causing concern among Afghans.
The computer maker's chairman Ray Lane has stepped down as executive chairman. He's been on thin ice with shareholders after his role in acquiring a business software company ended up hurting HP's bottom line.