By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Possibly a sign that the down economy may finally be looking up, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that U.S. payrolls posted their strongest monthly job gains of the past three years in March of 2010.

The Labor Department’s report – Employment Situation Summary, March 2010 – showed that the nation added 162,000 non-farm payroll jobs last month, a figure that included 48,000 temporary census workers.

However, despite the growth in jobs, the unemployment rate remained steady at just under 10 percent (9.7%), while the number of unemployed people also changed little and stayed at 15.0 million.

According to the report, job growth continued in temporary help services (40,000) – where employment has risen by 313,000 since September 2009 – and health care (27,000), with the largest gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (16,000) and in nursing and residential care facilities (9,000). Employment in federal government was also up over the month, reflecting the hiring of 48,000 temporary workers for Census 2010.

Other sectors of the economy also showed positive signs in March 2010:

  • Manufacturing: Employment trended up in March 2010 (17,000), with job gains in the industry concentrated in fabricated metal products (9,000) and in machinery (6,000). Overall, 45,000 jobs were added in the first 3 months of 2010.
  • Construction: Employment held steady in March (15,000), a good sign for an industry that had lost an average of 72,000 jobs per month in the prior 12 months.
  • Mining: Employment increased by 8,000, and monthly job gains in the industry have averaged 6,000 over the past 5 months.

On the negative side, job losses continued in financial activities (-21,000) – with the largest losses occurring in insurance carriers and related activities (-9,000) – and in the information industry (-12,000).

With hiring seemingly on the upswing, the need for employment screening should also rise. Employers planning to add employers – even temporary workers – should implement an extensive pre-employment screening process that includes criminal background checks and reference background checks.

A series of recent surveys of HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that approximately three out of four U.S. businesses currently perform pre-employment screening programs on job candidates that include reference background checks (76 percent) and criminal background checks (73 percent).

Companies such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) can help employers use a safe hiring program that will ensure a less dangerous and more productive workplace. For information of implementing a pre-employment screening program that includes criminal background checks and reference background checks, visit