Employment rose by 162,000 in March, keeping the unemployment rate steady at 9.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
It’s the biggest increase in jobs in a single month in three years.
The BLS also revised the numbers for January and February; the agency is now saying that in January, the economy didn’t lose 26,000 jobs (itself a revision from the preliminary number of 20,000), it gained 14,000; in February, the economy didn’t lose 36,000 jobs, it lost just 14,000.
The growth in employment in March can’t just be attributed to government hiring; yes, the feds hired 48,000 temporary workers for the 2010 census, but 36,700 health care workers got jobs and even 21,000 manufacturing jobs were added.
Temporary help services added another 40,000 jobs; since September 2009, temporary employment has risen by 313,000.
Meanwhile, the number of long-term unemployed increased by 414,000 to 6.5 million; in March, almost half (44 percent) of all unemployed people qualified as long-term unemployed.