Unemployment rate holds steady at 9.7 percent

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent in March and employers added jobs at the fastest pace in three years, according to USA Today.

The economy created 162,000 jobs in March, which was short of the 200,000 economists predicted; this was attributed mainly to the federal government hiring fewer temporary Census workers in March than expected—only 48,000.

President Obama says the March unemployment rate is a sign the U.S. economy is starting to emerge from recession but acknowledges the economy still is having a difficult time.

The private sector added 123,000 jobs in March.

"This is the best news we've seen in a while," says Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "That is encouraging. I am optimistic but also realistic: It will take a while to bring down this unacceptable unemployment rate."

In March, temporary jobs increased by 40,000, and manufacturing jobs increased by 17,000; the manufacturing sector has added 45,000 jobs so far this year.

However, the number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer increased by 414,000 in March to 6.5 million people, or 44 percent of jobless individuals.

Date : 4/7/2010