The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in March, exceeding projections. The overall unemployment rate inched up a bit to 5.0%, though we've been at or below this level for six consecutive months -- conditions we haven't seen in over eight years.
As for the revisions: January's job totals were revised down a little, from 172,000 to 168,000, while February's totals were also revised up a little, from 242,000 to 245,000. Combined, that's not much of a change.
Regardless, this is another encouraging jobs report -- including a heartening bump in average hourly earnings -- that reinforces the belief that the U.S. labor market is resilient and healthy. Indeed, the overall labor force has grown by over 1.9 million workers since November -- more Americans are entering the job market -- which is the strongest totals we've seen in 16 years.
Over the last 12 months, the overall economy has created 2.8 million new jobs, which is a strong number. What's more, March was the 66th consecutive month of positive job growth -- the best stretch since 1939 -- and the 73rd consecutive month in which we've seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.
Above you'll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.