Better weather may have lifted job growth in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most economists say they believe that when the winter deep freeze ended, the glacial pace of hiring shifted to a higher gear.

Economists surveyed by FactSet forecast that employers added 195,000 jobs last month, up from 175,000 in February. If correct the figure would be the highest in four months.

The unemployment rate is forecast to fall to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent in February. The government reports official figures this morning.

Low temperatures and heavy snowstorms this winter closed factories, interrupted work at construction sites and kept consumers away from shopping malls. Hiring fell to an average of 129,000 jobs a month from December through February.

Some economists project that a much larger job gain took place last month, with the boost coming from hiring delayed by winter.

Economists generally expect hiring to average about 200,000 jobs a month for the rest of the year.

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