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Nonfarm payroll employment edged up in March, adding 88,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Employment grew in construction and was flat in manufacturing.
Construction employment continued to trend up in March (+18,000). Job growth in this industry picked up this past fall; since September, the industry has added 169,000 jobs. In March, employment continued to expand among specialty trade contractors (+23,000). Employment in specialty trade contractors has increased by 128,000 since September, with the gain about equally split between the residential and nonresidential components.
Manufacturing employment showed little change over the month. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours.
Retail trade employment declined by 24,000 in March. The industry had added an average of 32,000 jobs per month over the prior 6 months. In March, job declines occurred in clothing and clothing accessories stores (-15,000), building material and garden supply stores (-10,000), and electronics and appliance stores (-6,000).