Non-farm payrolls increased by 162,000, the the biggest increase since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. More than a quarter of those jobs, 48,000, were temporary workers hired to help with the U.S. Census. But that still leaves 114,000 new jobs created by the rest of the economy. What's more, the government has revised its job counts for January and February, so instead of steady losses, there was a gain of 14,000 in January and a loss in February of 14,000 -- making the first two months of the year a breakeven time for jobs.
Still, the economy has lost millions of jobs over the last few years, and it will take years to replace them. Until then, the housing market is going to be weighed down by high unemployment, including many homeowners who have lost their jobs and are at risk of foreclosure.
At least the rate of unemployment is not getting worse. As the economy recovers and more workers return to the labor force to hunt for jobs, the employers will have to add about 100,000 jobs a month for the unemployment rate to keep treading water.
The jobs picture changes depending on where you are, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The lowest unemployment rates are in states more or less untouched by the real estate boom and bust -- North Dakota (4.1 percent in February), Nebraska (4.8 percent), South Dakota (4.8 percent), and Kansas (6.5 percent).
The worst states for unemployment are also states slammed by high foreclosure rates, like Michigan (14.1 percent) and Nevada (13.2 percent).
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