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Unemployment rate falls to 7.6 percent in March despite slow employment increase

unemployedDespite a slow employment increase of 88,000 jobs in March, the unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent, which could be attributed to dwindling labor force participation rather than job creation.

Job numbers from February and January were revised to reflect an employment increase of 268,000 jobs and 148,000 jobs, respectively.

Job creation continues to be mostly driven by the service sector.  In March, the number of jobs in the service sector increased by 72,000, while the goods producing sector added 16,000 jobs, the smallest increase since October. The decision by the U.S. Postal Service to cut 12,000 jobs led to a job decline of 7,000 in the public sector. The construction sector added 18,000 jobs last month, and though the number is significantly less than in February, it is still indicative of a recovering housing market.

Job growth in healthcare continued in March as the sector added 23,000 jobs. Employment in food services and pubs and bars continued its increase in March, adding 13,000 jobs. The food and drink industry has added 262,000 jobs over the past year.

“The continued increase to construction payrolls in January, February and March signals that the U.S. housing market is transitioning into a sustainable recovery,” Jim Chessen, the chief economist at the American Bankers Association, said.

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