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Economic Watch: Unemployment Rate Unchanged, Trucking Adds Jobs

April 4, 2014

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The nation overall and the trucking industry both added jobs in March, according to new U.S. Labor Department figures released Friday.

There were a total of 192,000 jobs added during the month, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged from the month before at 6.7%. While the number of jobs added was less than a consensus forecast from economists, numbers for January and February job gains were revised upward from previous figures.

The new report nearly matches up with a separate one released two days earlier, showing 191,00 jobs were added during the month

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The unemployment rate was kept lower as more American’s resumed looking for a job. Over the past year, the number of unemployed persons is down by 1.2 million while the unemployment rate has shed 0.8 of percentage point.

All of the overall March increase came from the private sector, with private payrolls surpassing the record high set in January 2008.

For-hire trucking added 3,300 jobs in March, with the number of people in the sector employed being 1.8% higher than a year ago and 12.9% greater than compared to March 2010, but is still 4.3% below the peak registered in January 2007.

For March, the wider transportation and warehousing sector gained 7,900 jobs.

“A solid report suggesting the labor market is on firmer footing than implied by the recent weakness seen during the winter months of December and January. However, this is hardly the ‘catch up’ number anticipated from months of pent up demand,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist with the investment firm Sterne Agee. “The sub-200,000 March headline still falls short of the levels seen in October and November. While promising, this morning's report leaves the three month average little changed at 178,000 down from 205,000 at the start of 2013, undermining confidence in reestablishing above trend momentum in hiring.

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