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Tags: Unemployment | Rate | Unchanged | jobs

Unemployment Rate Likely Unchanged at 8.3% in March — Survey

Monday, 02 April 2012 07:45 AM EDT

The country's 8.3 percent unemployment rate will probably remain unchanged in March, as warm weather earlier in the winter meant less layoffs, which in turn will likely mean less hiring last month, a MarketWatch survey shows.

The survey of economists sees the economy adding 200,000 jobs in March, down from an average of 245,000 each month from December to February, the news service reports.

That would leave the headline unemployment rate unchanged at 8.3 percent.

"We do expect some moderation in March," says economist Yelena Shulyatyeva of BNP Paribas, MarketWatch adds.

"The main idea is that warm winter led to fewer layoffs than usual, so there’s less hiring in the early spring."

Construction projects often taper off during the winter, although unseasonably warm weather brought many online ahead of schedule, which pumped up hiring numbers at the end of 2011 and in early 2012.

Still, adding 200,000 net nonfarm payrolls to the economy would generate applause on Wall Street, as the figures would depict an economy that is still growing even if at a slower pace.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, the lowest level since April 2008, according to the Labor Department's latest figures.

Many economists felt jobless claims didn't fall far enough.

"Looks like the market is a little disappointed," says John Kosar, Director Of Research With Asbury Research In Chicago, according to Reuters.

"The bigger picture is not one disappointing data point, but where we were going into that. The market was feeling pretty fearless and bulletproof, and when we're feeling that way, a disappointing data point has a greater effect."

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Monday, 02 April 2012 07:45 AM
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