NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The government on Friday will release its March jobs report, a crucial measure of the health of the economy.
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect the report to show that employers added 200,000 jobs in March, and that the unemployment ratefell by 0.1% to 8.2%.
In February, the U.S. added 227,000 jobs, and a fourth straight month of job growth above 200,000 would add further credence to the belief that the economy is on the road to recovery.
Friday’s report comes following labor market data released earlier this week that offered some positive signs.
On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that 357,000 people filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, keeping such filings around their lowest level since April 2008. A day prior, payroll-processor ADP said the private sector added 209,000 jobs in March.
The economy needs about 125,000 new jobs each month just to keep the unemployment rate steady. To fully dig out of the jobs hole left by the financial crisis, it needs far more.
U.S. stock markets won’t be able to react to the report until Monday, since they are closed for Good Friday. But Treasury market trading will take place through noon ET.