The economy created 192,000 jobs in March, better than during the depths of winter but still short of the labor market rebound that many experts had been hoping to see last month.
Still, in one hopeful sign, the Labor Department said the proportion of Americans in the work force rose slightly, as the number of people looking for work increased, suggesting workers were being lured back into the job hunt as openings began to appear.
According to a New York Times report, another encouraging signal was a revision upward by government statisticians of the number of jobs added in January and February, with employers adding a total of 37,000 more positions than first thought.
The unemployment rate remained flat from last month, at 6.7%, but that was almost entirely because of an increase of a half-million people in the labor force. That follows healthy gains in the labor force since the beginning of the year.
If it were not for the increase in the size of the labor force, the unemployment rate would have fallen to 6.5%.
The latest numbers suggest that while the economy is still failing to achieve the kind of escape velocity that experts and policy makers have long sought, it is not falling into the rut some pessimists feared was developing earlier this year.
“This is a 2.5% real-growth economy writ large,” said Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG Investment Research in New York. Blitz also noted that many of the new jobs are in sectors that tend to pay less, with 31 percent of the jobs added in March coming in the temporary services and restaurant categories.
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