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Jobs Outlook: Improving, But Still Bad

The big monthly employment report is out today. It's better than economists expected, and it shows that the jobs picture is improving.

Here's the good news:

  • The economy added 216,000 jobs in March.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent, the lowest it's been since early 2009.
  • The labor force — the number of people working or looking for work — grew.

Of course, the jobs picture is still quite bad by historic standards:

  • An 8.8 percent unemployment rate is significantly worse than economists predicted just a few years ago.
  • Among those out of work, 45.5 percent have been unemployed for six months or more — and the longer people have been unemployed, the less likely it is that they will find another job.
  • Since the end of 2007, the U.S. has lost more than seven million jobs.

Here's the full story on today's jobs report.