It's a good Friday for job growth, too

On this sunny Friday afternoon, I thought I’d pass along some equally cheery news from the job front:

The U.S. economy posted its largest job gain in three years in March.

More specifically, the Department of Labor said employers added 162,000 jobs last month – 123,000 of those by private employers.

"It's just the beginning of a rise in private hiring that will help sustain the recovery," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group."They're not big numbers, but they're welcome numbers."

And although some of the news in the report was mixed, I’d like to sustain your good mood with only these additional, upbeat details:

=> Manufacturers added 17,000 jobs, the third straight month of gains
=> Temporary help services added 40,000 jobs, while health care added 37,000
=> Leisure and hospitality added 22,000 jobs
=> Even the beaten-up construction industry added 15,000 positions
=> Plus, the average work week increased to 34 hours from 33.9

This recent report comes on the heels of data earlier this week that showed consumers are stepping up their spending, and manufacturing activity is growing at its fastest pace in more than five years. As they keep a close eye on the numbers, economists are hopeful that the nation will steer clear of a "double-dip" recession, where growth slows after a short burst.

"The stars are starting to align here," said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.

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