The good news – U.S. employers created jobs – 162,000 of them – the fastest pace since March 2007, according to the Labor Department. On the other hand, some 48,000 of those were temporary hires for the U.S. Census (though fewer than analysts had forecast) – and economists had been hoping that as many as 200,000 jobs might be added, following a February number (revised upward to a loss of 14,000 jobs from a previously reported decline of 36,000 jobs) that was likely held down by the blizzards that hit the East Coast that month. January’s totals were also revised higher – to show a gain of 14,000, rather than the previously reported loss of 26,000 jobs.
Private employers added 123,000 jobs, the most since May 2007. Manufacturers added 17,000 jobs (the third straight month of gains), while temporary help services added 40,000, health care added 37,000, and leisure and hospitality added 22,000. There were 15,000 jobs added in the construction industry.
On the other hand, in March, financial activities shed 21,000 jobs, with the largest losses occurring in insurance carriers and related activities (-9,000). Employment in the information industry decreased by 12,000. No Change
Some other good news – the nation’s unemployment rate didn’t increase. On the other hand, it held steady at 9.7%.
The report also showed that that average workweek rose by 0.1 hour to 34 hours in March, and that average hourly earnings of all employees fell by 0.1% to $22.47 in March.