NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The job market continued to improve in March as strong business hiring took the unemployment rate to its lowest level in two years.
The economy gained 216,000 jobs in the month. That's better than the gain of 180,000 predicted by economists surveyed by CNNMoney, and also a significant improvement over the 194,000 jobs added in February.
"Almost two years after the recession officially ended, the labor market appears to finally be picking up," said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for The Conference Board.
Businesses added 230,000 jobs, the second best gain in that reading in five years. But while businesses continued to bring on new staff, public sector employers trimmed 14,000 jobs during the month, mostly at the local government level.
The unemployment rate continued to edge down, dropping to 8.8%, the lowest level since March 2009. The unemployment rate has shed a full percentage point in the last four months.
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