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Not much change in unemployment

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.7 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.6%, were little changed in March.

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up in March (+88,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

In February, the unemployment rate stood at 7.7%. A year ago, the rate was 8.2%.

Employment grew in professional and business services and in health care but declined in retail trade, according to the Friday morning report.

Construction employment continued to trend up in March, gaining 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, an area that saw an increase of 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.

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