US adds 120,000 jobs in March, below expectations

06 April 2012 14:56  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy added 120,000 jobs in March, the Department of Labor (DOL) said on Friday, well below the 200,000 new workers that economists had expected, but the unemployment rate edged down to 8.2% from the 8.3% seen in February.

The March net jobs growth of 120,000 also marks a decline from the average of 246,000 new jobs added in each of the previous three months, the department noted.

The US economy needs to add about 150,000 new jobs each month just to provide employment for young people entering the workforce.  Economists say that to make any serious progress in reducing the unemployment rate, the country should generate 300,000-350,000 jobs per month.

The narrow decline in the unemployment rate, from February’s 8.3% jobless rate to 8.2% in March, is attributed not to last month’s mediocre employment gain but rather to a reduction in the overall size of the US workforce as some people give up looking for work and drop out of the measured labour pool.

In its monthly report, the department said the March job gains were chiefly in the manufacturing sector, food services and health care.

There were employment losses in retail sales.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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