The nation found itself in an unusual position in March, adding 162,000 jobs, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the best monthly gain in employment in three years.
The country's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent. Fifteen million Americans were unemployed as of last month.
Temporary help services and the health-care sector added jobs during the month. Federal government employment also rose because of the hiring of temporary workers by the U.S. Census Bureau. Click here for a complete breakdown of the changes in 20 sectors.
Temporary help services added 40,000 jobs in March. Hospitals and other businesses in health care added 27,000.
The financial sector suffered the biggest decline last month, losing 21,000 jobs, and the information sector lost 12,000.
Friday's report covered the nation as a whole. State-by-state data for March will be released on April 16, and metropolitan area statistics for February and March will be made public on April 7 and April 28, respectively.
The most recent reports at those levels have presented a mixed picture for New York and the Buffalo area, showing the state on the upswing (adding 5,800 jobs between January and February), but the local metro area continuing to lose jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also released unemployment rates for various demographic groups. Asian-Americans had the lowest rate, while teenagers had the highest. These were the figures:
• Asian-Americans, 7.5 percent
• Adult women, 8.0 percent
• Whites, 8.8 percent
• Adult men, 10.0 percent
• Hispanics, 12.6 percent
• Blacks, 16.5 percent
• Teenagers, 26.1 percent