(NBC NEWS) -- Only 63% of American adults are now working or looking for work, the lowest since 1979.
And the employment picture got worse in March.
Retailers cut jobs after months of hiring and manufacturers laid off workers.
88-thousand jobs were added in march, the fewest in 9 months.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.6, but only because more people gave up finding work and weren't counted.
A wintery march is partly to blame.
People put off buying spring clothes and stores cut back.
Another reason for less spending and more layoffs is that medicare and social security taxes went up in january.
"Millions of Americans losing on average 100 dollars a month because of the payroll tax hike finally showed up in the jobs report today," said CNBC Washington Correspondent Hampton Pearson.
Millions of federal workers are about to get hit by sequestration.
"The sequester, the congressional budget office estimates, will reduce job growth by 750,000," said Alan Kruegoer, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
To end sequestration and the deadlock in Washington that's put a damper on hiring, President Obama floated a plan to get republican support and to cut the cost increase of social security and medicare by reducing automatic benefit hikes tied to inflation.
Liberals charge a sellout that would hurt seniors.
The White House denied it.
"It protects our seniors. It does not follow the republican route of eviscerating social programs," said White House spokesman, Jay Carney.
The Obama plan calls for tax hikes on the rich, which republicans charge will cost American