Jobless claims hit four-month high

Economists argue that the labor market is healthier when applications fall below 375,000, which reflects a slower pace of layoffs. 

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, is expecting that there were 175,000 jobs created last month — 185,000 in the private sector combined with a 10,000 job decline in the public sector. The unemployment rate will probably tick up to 7.8 percent, up from the four-year low of 7.7 percent hit in February. 

Employers added 236,000 jobs in February and have added 200,000 jobs a month since November.

Zandi is expecting that more people looked for work last month, which likely pushed up the jobless rate. 

But he also suggested that the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect on March 1 will have a negative effect on the jobs figures through the summer, especially as many government employees are furloughed in the upcoming months. 

He also said many firms could be holding back on hiring because of the implementation of the healthcare law. 

ADP's report released on Wednesday showed that the private sector added 158,000, well below February's levels. Still, ADP said the average gain during the first three months of the year is 191,000.