A newly released report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed the unemployment rate fell to 8.8% during the month of March, the lowest level in two years.

Some highlights from the report:

Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in March (+17,000). Job gains were
concentrated in two durable goods industries: fabricated metal products (+8,000)
and machinery (+5,000). Employment in durable goods manufacturing has risen by
243,000 since its most recent low in December 2009.

Employment in the service-providing sector continued to expand, led
by a gain of 78,000 in professional and business services. Most of the gain
occurred in temporary help services (+29,000) and in professional and technical
services (+35,000).

Health care employment continued to increase in March (+37,000). Over the last
12 months, health care has added 283,000 jobs, or an average of 24,000 jobs per

Employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 37,000 over the month, with more than
two-thirds of the increase in food services and drinking places (+27,000).

In March, employment in mining increased by 14,000, with much of the gain occurring
in support activities for mining (+9,000).

Employment in local government continued to trend down over the month. Local government
has lost 416,000 jobs since an employment peak in September 2008.

The full March unemployment report is available online.