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Job Growth Slows in March, Underscores Need for Recovery Efforts

April 10, 2012

The economy added 120,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report. In contrast to the last few months, job growth came in lower than expected—an unwelcome change of pace that raises concern about how robust the recovery is for working families.

Despite worse-than-expected jobs growth, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.2 percent. With 12.7 million workers still unemployed – and certain groups of workers struggling disproportionately with long-term unemployment – further robust growth is needed to alleviate the hardship of unemployment and close the jobs deficit, which remains at nearly 10 million jobs.

“While the slight decline in the unemployment rate and downward trend in the number of workers filing for unemployment are welcome news, the slower than anticipated job growth for March is worrisome,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. “We should not attach too much significance to one month’s numbers, especially in light of overall positive trends, but there’s no question that the persistence of a deep jobs deficit along with low labor force participation rates and the lopsided growth in low-wage jobs remain a cause for concern about how robust and sustainable the recovery will be.

“We cannot build a strong economy that supports families today and provides opportunities for their children tomorrow on low wages and substantial unemployment and underemployment. Our goal should be a good jobs economy that provides work, opportunity and economic security for all. Ultimately, the best measure of success is the progress we are making toward that goal,” Owens said.

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