WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers notched another month of hiring in March, adding 215,000 jobs. The improvement was driven by large gains in the construction, retail and health care industries.
Despite the jump, the Labor Department says the unemployment rate ticked up to 5 percent from 4.9 percent. But that increase includes some good news: more Americans came off the sidelines to look for work, though not all found jobs.
The figures suggest that employers remain confident enough in their business prospects to add staff, even as overall growth has slowed since last winter. Many analysts estimate that the economy grew at a 1 percent annual rate or below in the first quarter.
The steady hiring lifted average hourly pay, which rose a modest 2.3 percent from a year earlier to $25.43.
National figures from the BLS show that the number of unemployed increased from 7,815,000 in February to 7,966,000.
Additionally Full time unemployment edged up from 4.9 to 5.1..
The government numbers can be found at:
http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea06.htm and http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea01.pdf