The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 jobs in March 2011, with most of the gains occurring in the service-providing sectors, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Total payroll employment has grown by 1.5 million jobs since a recent low in February 2010.

According to ‘THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MARCH 2011,’ the number of unemployed persons dropped to 13.5 million while the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.8 percent. Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by 1 percentage point.

Job gains occurred in several industries:

  • Service-providing sector employment gained 78,000 jobs in business services, 29,000 jobs in temporary help services, and 35,000 jobs in technical services.
  • Health care employment increased by 37,000 jobs, and has added 283,000 jobs over the last 12 months, an average of 24,000 jobs per month.
  • Leisure and hospitality employment in rose by 37,000 jobs over the month, with more than two-thirds of the increase, 27,000 jobs, in food services and drinking places.
  • Manufacturing employment continued to trend up with an increase of 17,000 jobs.
  • Mining employment increased by 14,000 jobs.

On the negative side, local government employment continued to trend down over the month and has lost 416,000 jobs since an employment peak in September 2008.

The BLS Employment Situation Report for April is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 6, 2011.

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