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Economy Added 215,000 Jobs In March, Unemployment Rate Rises To 5 Percent

The economy added 215,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate ticked slightly up from 4.9 percent to 5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

The topline number came in just above economist expectations of 207,000 jobs added for the month. February and January figures were revised as well, with 1,000 fewer jobs created in total over those two months than initially reported.

Average hourly earnings bumped upward slightly, after a small dip in February. Despite the 7-cent rise in wages in the March report, hourly earnings have risen by just 2.3 percent economy-wide over the past year.

Employment in the retail sector rose by 48,000 jobs in March. Construction and health care each added 37,000 jobs. The nation’s manufacturing sector shrunk by 29,000 jobs for the month, while the financial sector added 15,000 new workers.

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There are just over 6 million Americans working part-time who’d prefer full-time work, according to the report, which notes these involuntary part-time workers have held steady since November.