U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly in March

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The U.S. unemployment rate dipped slightly in March to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent in February.

The broader employment picture remained weak, with more people leaving the labor force than obtaining employment, according to the results of a survey of households, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning.

The number of people working fell nationally by 206,000 even as the number of people who were unemployed fell by 290,000. Those two statistics left the size of the civilian labor force to shrivel by nearly half of a million people.

A separate survey of employers during February showed that the country experienced a net gain of 88,000 jobs.

Private employers added 95,000 jobs, but the net loss of 7,000 government jobs pulled to total job gain down to 88,000.

The federal government, in the first month of the automatic budget cuts caused by budget sequestration, cut 14,000 jobs.

The states added a combined 9,000 jobs, but municipalities across the country lost 2,000 jobs.

Health and social service jobs gained 27,900 jobs nationwide in March.

Manufacturing, which had been adding jobs and which still had 71,000 jobs added since March 2012, lost 3,000 jobs in the last month.

The job losses were not in durable goods, however. There were 2,000 more jobs nation-wide manufacturing primary metals, such as steel and aluminum.

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Ann Belser: abelser@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1699.


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