U.S. job growth in March surged in the service sector, with health care adding 49,000 jobs as hospitals and nursing care facilities stepped up hiring.
Restaurants and bars gained more than 27,000 jobs. Professional and business services accounted for 37,000 additional positions, expanding the ranks of engineers, consultants and accountants.
By contrast, manufacturing lost 6,000 jobs, marking that sector's first decline in a year and a half. The weakness stemmed from a sharp drop in employment at automakers, likely reflecting layoffs by General Motors. Retailers shed jobs for a second straight month.
Overall, U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, the Labor Department said Friday.