WASHINGTON – The U.S. created 215,000 new jobs in March, showing an economy that's still expanding at a moderate pace despite some rocky moments earlier in the year. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an increase of 203,000 nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate rose a tick to 5% from 4.9%, as more people joined the labor force, the Labor Department said Friday. Average hourly wages climbed 0.3% to $25.43. Hourly pay rose 2.3% from March 2015 to March 2016, unchanged from the prior month. The amount of time people worked each week was flat at 34.4 hours. The labor-force participation rate rose a notch and reached 63% for the first time in two years. Employment gains for February and January, meanwhile, were essentially unchanged. The government said 245,000 new jobs were created in February instead of 242,000. January's gain was trimmed to 168,000 from 172,000.
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