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U.S. Economy Adds 192,000 Jobs in March

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The economy in the United States added 192,000 jobs in the month of March. The data was released by the government on Friday, according to The Washington Post.

The unemployment rate stayed the same, at 6.7 percent, as half a million people entered into the labor force.

“It’s an overall positive report,” said Alan MacEachin, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “The job market continues to be healthy, not robust.”

Economists were hopeful that March would see jobs gains of 200,000, or more, but that was not the case. Hiring might have been affected by the snowstorms that ravaged the country all winter long. MacEachin thinks businesses will try to play catch-up over the next few months before hiring moves back to its average rate of 180,000 new jobs per month.

The average workweek also increased by 0.2 hours to 34.5 hours in the month of March. This data was also released with the report. The increase in the average workweek helped to offset declines from the previous three months that economists thought was a sign of weakness in the labor industry. In March, average hourly earnings dropped to $24.30, a drop of 1 cent.

“The main takeaway from this report is that the labor market is continuing to bounce out of the weather-induced slump of earlier this year, and while the pace of the rebound remains slower than we expected, we take encouragement from the strong showing in almost every other aspect of this report,” said Millan L. Mulraine, deputy head of U.S. research and strategy at TD Securities.

When the jobs report was released on Friday, the Obama administration used it to discuss the struggles of the long-term unemployed. These people account for more than one-third of those out of work. Unemployment benefits could be restored to those people following a vote this week. Benefits for people unemployed six months or longer expired back in December.

Senators Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada), brokered a deal that permits retroactive payments to those people affected. It should pass the Senate, but could struggle in the House.

“The challenges confronting the long-term unemployed are the challenges that keep me up the most at night,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said. “We’re certainly not going to quit on them.”

There were 57,000 jobs added in the professional and business services industry. There were 19,000 jobs added each in the health care industry and construction sector. The federal government sector dropped 9,000 jobs, but local governments added 8,000 jobs.

Estimates of job growth in January were increased to 144,000 and to 197,000 in February. These estimates were revised by the government.

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Authored by: Harrison Barnes