162,000 new jobs in U.S. in March

Strongest job growth in three years: Labor Department

More jobs were created in March in the United States than at any other time in the last three years, and most of it was due to private firms stepping up hiring, according to a government report.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 162,000 and the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 per cent for a third straight month, according to the Labor Department.

The increase, only the third since the economy sunk into recession in late 2007, was the largest since March 2007.

The government hired 48,000 temporary workers last month for the decennial census, fewer than expected, while private payrolls jumped 123,000, the biggest increase since May 2007.

Construction payrolls grew 15,000 last month, after dropping 59,000 in February, and manufacturing added 17,000 jobs.

Retail employment also climbed by 14,900 and government employment rose 39,000.

A record 44.1 per cent of unemployed workers in March had been out of a job for 27 weeks or more. But discouraged workers returned to the labor force to look for jobs, which is why the jobless rate held steady despite job growth, another factor analysts took as a positive sign.

Payrolls for January were also revised upward to show a 14,000 gain instead of a loss of 26,000, while February was adjusted to show a loss of just 14,000 compared to the earlier reports of 36,000 job losses.

Reuters

Latest stories