WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's economy created the largest number of jobs last month since the recession began, while the unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent for the third straight month.
The Labor Department said employers added 162,000 jobs in March, the most in three years but below analysts' expectations of 190,000. The total includes 48,000 temporary workers hired for the U.S. Census, also fewer than many economists forecast.
Private employers added 123,000 jobs, the most since May 2007.
Still, more Americans said they were working part-time even though they preferred full-time work. When they and discouraged workers who have given up searching for jobs are included, the "underemployment" rate ticked up to 16.9 percent from 16.8 percent.