The U.S. Department of Labor published the March 2011 employment situation summary this morning revealing the unemployment rate for the month - 8.8 percent. This is down from the 8.9 percent unemployment rate in February thanks to 216,000 new jobs that were created during March.

In just the past four months, the unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point. In November 2010, only 39,000 new jobs were created and the official unemployment rate sat at 9.8 percent.

New jobs were added in several industries including professional and technical services (+35,000 jobs), temporary help (+29,000), health care (+37,000), food services and drinking places (+27,000) and manufacturing (+17,000). Within the manufacturing sector, the largest gains were seen in fabricated metal products (+8,000) and machinery (+5,000).

The March 2011 employment situation summary also included revised figures for both January and February. January 2011 employment was changed from a gain of 63,000 jobs to a gain of 68,000 jobs. February’s figures were also revised upwards, from 192,000 to 194,000 new jobs created.

While the unemployment rate improved slightly during March 2011, there are still 13.5 million unemployed Americans. Of these, 6.1 million have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, which earns these individuals the designation of long-term unemployed. Not a designation anyone wants to receive.

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