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March Employment Spike Best In 3 Years

Encouraging economic news from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics today as the agency is reporting payroll employment increased by 162,000, with 17,000 occurring in the manufacturing sector.

It's the highest number of new jobs for a month in three years.

While unemployment held steady at 9.7 percent, representing 15 million people out of work, the employment figure is evidence the economy is recovering and government leaders are encouraged, yet remain cautious, about what's ahead.

"While this is the most positive jobs report we have had in three years, there will likely be bumps in the road ahead," wrote Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, on the White House blog.

Revised BLS estimates now show a small job gain in January and a smaller job loss in February than previously reported. For the first quarter of 2010 job growth averaged 54,000 per month, noted Romer, which she said is a "dramatic change," from a year ago when average job loss was 753,000 a month.

"The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and generate steady, strong job gains," she wrote.

The employment gain was about half of what industry watchers expected, according to Forbes, which said Census figures predicted 200,000 jobs.

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