That changed after the release of a surprisingly soft U.S. jobs report from the Labor Department Friday. The dismal employment report showed that the U.S. economy created only 88,000 jobs in March, the smallest gain in 10 months, versus the 190,000 expected to be made. While the unemployment rate fell to 7.6% from 7.7%, it came from fewer people looking for work. Several analysts said that’s a sign the pace of hiring in the U.S. is slowing. The participation rate, a measure of health in the labor market, slid again to 63.3%, marking the lowest level since 1979.
Also in the report, the Labor Department revised higher the payrolls for February and January. February’s jobs number was revised to 268,000 from 236,000, and January's figure was revised up to 148,000 from 119,000.
Gold prices, which were flat ahead of the data, rallied sharply in the first few minutes after the report and held the majority of its gains.
Several market watchers said the rebound wasn’t entirely surprising, given how negative market participants turned on gold in the short term.