Some good news on jobs, but a long way to go

Finally, a decent monthly job report. Here are some highlights, brought to you by Meteor Blades:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated in its seasonally adjusted report that some 162,000 new jobs were created in March, the best showing since March 2007, but somewhat below the consensus of experts surveyed earlier in the week. The official unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%. Some 15 million Americans are officially out of work.

The U6 unemployment rate, an alternative measure that includes underemployed Americans as well as a portion of those too discouraged to have looked for jobs recently, rose to 16.9%. [...]

Some 48,000 of the new hires are temporary jobs with the Census. Hiring for the decennial count of the population will continue through June, with an estimated 1.15 million workers eventually hired. As a consequence of the short term nature of these jobs, experts will be largely discounting public employment when judging the health of the labor market during this period. Employment rose in construction, manufacturing, health care and temporary services. It held steady in transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, the retail trade, and wholesale trade. There were losses in the information industry and financial services.

BLS revisions lowered the job losses in January from the 26,000 reported last month to a gain of 14,000 and reduced the job losses for February from 36,000 to 14,000. Average hourly earnings fell 0.1% in March.

Click over for more details and charts. It's going to be a very long climb out of this recession, which was the most severe in seven decades in terms of job losses. Blades notes that if the economy created 200,000 jobs a month from now on, "it would take until October 2013 before the number of employed Americans equaled those with a job in December 2007, when the recession began."

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