Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in March, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs over the month.
Employment in federal government also rose, reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010.
Employment continued to decline in financial activities and in information.
In March, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 15.0 million, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.0 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (26.1 percent), whites (8.8 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.6 percent) showed little or no change in March. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) increased by 414,000 over the month to 6.5 million. In March, 44.1 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more.
The civilian labor force participation rate (64.9 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.6 percent) continued to edge up in March.
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased to 9.1 million in March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
About 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in March, compared with 2.1 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.0 million discouraged workers in March, up by 309,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.