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U.S. Adds 192,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Rate 6.7%

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The U.S. March employment report showed overall decent growth, indicating something of a rebound from bad weather, but implying a continued modest economy rather than the burst that some analysts feared.

March payrolls gained 192,000 and January-February revisions totaled +37,000. After revisions, Q4 average jobs growth was +198,000 a month, and the Q1 average is +178,000, indicating the labor market slowed slightly but is moving ahead. In the twelve months from March 2013, the jobs average is +183,000 a month.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7% and hours rebounded with better weather. Wages slowed, something of an anomaly given more work.

Jobs by area included: manufacturing -1,000, construction +19,000, retail +21,300, wholesale +7,100, temporary employment +28,500, healthcare +27,000, restaurants +30,400, and government flat.

In the background data, labor force participation is up, those not in the labor force falling, and the number of long-term unemployed steady but lower over the year. These are all consistent with continuing improvement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner said the private sector lost 8.8 million jobs during the downturn and only now has regained 8.9 million. It took more than four years to achieve this. Government jobs remain depressed and thus total employment is 422,000 below its level in December 2007, buttressing the argument that additional stimulus might be appropriate.

Payrolls/Prior PvtAHE AggHrs Indx UnemplyRate (unrounded)

Mar +192k -2c 107.8 6.7% (6.7120%)

Feb +197k/+175k 106.6r 6.7% (6.7163%)

Jan +144k/+129k 107.0r 6.6% (6.5843%)

--Email: jplocek@mni-news.com

**MNI Washington Bureau: Tel. (202)371-2121**