The job market finally appears to be shaking off the winter doldrums.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s March Employment Situation Summary, employers added 192,000 jobs last month, thanks in part to milder weather after a cold snap in January and February slowed job growth.
The unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 6.7%, however, because more people are looking for jobs. Still, economists found a silver lining: The increase in job-seekers is a sign that they are more optimistic about their prospects.
“This employment report should help put to rest fears that the economy was stalling as we entered the new year,” tweeted Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan.
Economists were also heartened that the total number of private-sector jobs is now finally back to where it was as the downturn began in early 2008. U.S. employers have added 8.9 million jobs over the past six years, counteracting the 8.8 million jobs they’ve shed.
But while the latest rate of job creation is promising, it’s not enough to accommodate both the enormous backlog of jobless workers and the millions of new job seekers who enter the market each year. That means we’re unlikely to see dramatic drops in the unemployment rate anytime soon.
“While there has been steady progress, there is also no doubt that the economy and the job market are not back to normal health,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said prior to the report’s release.