Private U.S. firms added 120,000 jobs in March


The nation's unemployment rate fell in March.
The nation's unemployment rate fell in March.

Private companies in the U.S. continued to add employees in March, as the overall labor economy expanded, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. job market was battered in the wake of the financial and housing crises, the effects of which first began to ripple through the economy in 2007. Although the housing and construction sectors were significantly impacted, they are continuing to show signs of improvement.

The BLS said that private companies in the U.S. added a total of approximately 120,000 workers to their payrolls in the third month of the year. While the rate of jobs growth slowed from that of January and February, the nation's unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent.

Manufacturing continues to serve as a bright spot in the U.S. economic recovery, according to data the BLS released. U.S. manufacturers added 37,000 jobs in March, with the automaking sector experiencing substantial gains. According to the BLS, factory employment in the U.S. has jumped by 470,000 since a low point logged in January 2010, underscoring how improvements in efficiency have helped spur a sustained recovery.

The government has worked to shed workers over the past few years as public officials fought to reign in the nation's soaring budget deficit. However, the Air Force, among other federal organizations, has ratcheted up its hiring over the past few weeks. The Pentagon is striving to attract qualified workers, and it has increasingly worked with aviation staffing firms to help procure experts within the aeronautics sector.

The Springfield News-Sun reports that the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, for example, has more than 100 vacant positions it is currently working to fill. School official Thomas Wells affirmed the Air Force is actively looking to hire engineers and other skilled workers at the university.

"We're still not back to strength," he said. "We're only about 80 percent manned at the school."

The school has undergone a major renovation over the past few years, with crews completing a $332 million project in 2011. Wells and other officials said they are continuing to work with temp agencies in an effort to fill vacant positions, and they are confident they will be able to hire qualified candidates over the coming months.