U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department reported Friday. The number exceeded expectations of a 172,000-job gain forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The number marked a rebound from a 17-month low in February, when U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by a disappointing 20,000 new jobs, although that figure was adjusted up to 33,000 in Friday's report. The strong jobs report could help ease fears of a sharp economic slowdown.
"A number that is close to consensus and with an upward revision to February will give you some degree of comfort that while the economy is slowing, it isn't declining rapidly," said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore, shortly before the report came out. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent, CNBC reports.