The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, showing steady improvement in the labor market, but still short of the rebound analysts were expecting.
The 192,000 gain was below the 206,000 estimate reported by analysts polled by Bloomberg, but the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent. While the increase in jobs was lower than Wall Street expectations, it is still closer to the monthly average for job growth since the beginning of 2013. Last year, the U.S. added 194,000 jobs each month on average after 186,000 in 2012.
"This is a very good report," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Inc. in Lexington, Mass. "It looks like we're back on track."
Employment figures for January and February were both higher than earlier estimated, suggesting the effect on the labor market due to the harsh weather wasn't as bad as expected. The revision added 37,000 jobs for the first two months of the year.
Analysts have been looking to the March jobs report to provide clean data about the labor market and the effect of the harsh winter. Weak jobs figures in the last few months has been blamed on the harsh winter weather which affected hiring in most sectors.
Increases were seen in construction, retail and professional services, whereas government employment remained flat.