U.S. economy adds 216,000 jobs, unemployment drops to 8.8%

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The United States economy added 216,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department reported Friday, adding to hopes that hiring was finally on a steadier track despite concerns about overseas turmoil.

The gain in jobs slightly exceeded economists’ expectations. The unemployment rate continued to decline, to 8.8 percent, from 8.9 percent the previous month.

Quite a few signs have pointed to this economic recovery finally gaining some momentum. The weekly unemployment claims have declined steadily, from the mid-400,000s to the neighborhood of 385,000. In most contexts, the latter would be a grim number. But in this slowest and most sluggish of recoveries, it points to fewer layoffs, and presumably to more hiring.

Full story: U.S. Economy Added 216,000 Jobs in March; Rate at 8.8%