WASHINGTON (April 6, 2012) — Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 jobs in March, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The U.S. unemployment rate also inched down to 8.2 percent in March from the previous month's 8.3 percent, the BLS said.
The biggest gains for the month were in manufacturing and food services, each with 37,000 new jobs. Within manufacturing, motor vehicles and parts had a solid gain of 12,000 new jobs. Manufacturing has gained 470,000 new jobs since reaching an all-time employment low in January 2010, the BLS said.
Retail trade, however, lost 34,000 jobs in March. General merchandise stores, with a loss of 32,000 jobs, accounted for nearly all of the loss, the agency said.
In a statement accompanying the job figures, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said there have been gains in private sector employment for 25 consecutive months.
“Since the president took office, we've added more than 4 million jobs to an economy that was bleeding 800,000 a month under the last administration,” Ms. Solis said. “However, the fact that some Americans are still leaving the labor force shows that we cannot rest on our laurels and expect to coast our way back to prosperity.”
Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said he was encouraged by the latest jobs figures.
“It's clear from this jobs report that manufacturing is playing an outsized role in driving the economic recovery in America,” Mr. Paul said. “The policy lesson should be clear: investing in manufacturing will pay off with more and better jobs for American workers.”