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Photograph: Photo by Ron Cogswell, used under CC BY

The United States saw payrolls grow by 215,000 workers in March, the Bureau of Labour Statistics said Friday.

The unemployment rate edged up slightly to 5.0 per cent from 4.9 per cent in February, which had been the lowest unemployment figure since February 2008.

March's job growth figures were lower than February's increase of 242,000 workers, according to the government's survey of employers, but still higher than January's number of 172,000.

The unemployment rate, which is based on a separate survey of households, is down from a 2009 peak of 10 per cent.

"The robust pace of job creation continued in March as labor force participation rose for the fourth consecutive month and hourly wages increased," said Jason Furman, chairman of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

"The private sector has now added 14.4 million jobs over 73 straight months of job growth, the longest streak on record, and wage growth has accelerated over the past year," he said.

Average hourly earnings for private employees grew 0.3 per cent in March and 2.3 per cent overall in the last year, according to Furman.

"Global headwinds" continued to negatively affect growth in manufacturing and mining, Furman said.

Industries seeing the most employment gains in March were retail trade at 48,000, and construction at 37,000. Manufacturing, on the other hand, saw a loss of 29,000 positions.

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