The job market is showing signs of life, though its slow recovery suggests unemployment will remain high for years to come.
Employers added 162,000 jobs in March, the biggest monthly gain in three years, with one-third of the growth coming from the government’s hiring of 48,000 temporary workers for the 2010 Census. Despite those gains, the jobless rate held steady at 9.7% as new workers entered the job market and people who had previously quit the labor force returned.
The average length of unemployment rose last month to the highest point since record keeping began in 1948: more than 31 weeks. The number of workers out of work for six months or more rose sharply.