Today the Department of Labor released the March 2012 employment situation summary, and the unemployment rate has dropped, slightly, to 8.2 percent. Net job growth totaled 120,000 during the month, exactly half of the revised February job growth figure of 240,000 new jobs.


While 8.2 percent sounds better than the 10-plus percent unemployment rate the nation saw during the recession, there are still about 12.7 million unemployed Americans. This figure doesn’t include the 2.4 million individuals who are considered marginally attached to the workforce.


A person is considered marginally attached when his is available to work, has actively sought employment in the past 12 months but did not seek employment during the four-week period leading up to the unemployment survey. Discouraged workers, those who want to work but don’t think there are jobs available for them, account for 865,000 of the 2.4 million marginally attached workers.


The marginally attached workforce has remained relatively unchanged over the past year, but there are still sectors that are seeing consistent employment growth, including the manufacturing industry, food services and health care.


During March, about 37,000 new jobs were added in the manufacturing sector including 12,000 jobs in the motor vehicles and parts division. Food services also added 37,000 new jobs last month and the health care sector grew by 26,000 positions.

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