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Jobs Up, Unemployment Down

But for 55-plus workers, duration of joblessness spiked to 51 weeks

The forecast, released Thursday, followed a survey of more than 2,800 hiring managers and human resource professionals and more than 5,600 workers nationwide.

"This was our strongest quarterly outlook in three years," Richard Castellini, chief marketing officer for CareerBuilder, told the AARP Bulletin.

He says that the West Coast was leading the jobs recovery, with 33 percent of hiring managers saying they expect to add to their payrolls in the second quarter, followed by 28 percent of managers in the Northeast and 24 percent in the South.

Jobless claims also fall

In other news that suggested the recovery is picking up steam, the number of people who filed first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week that ended March 26, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Another survey, released Wednesday by the payroll company ADP, showed that 201,000 private-sector jobs were created in March, nearly the same as the month before. The firm said that strong hiring at small businesses and at manufacturing companies explained some of that growth.

Despite positive developments on the job front, consumers continued to worry about rising prices and paltry salary increases. The nonprofit Conference Board said that consumer confidence suffered its biggest decline in more than a year, falling in March to 63.4 from a revised 72.0 in February. It was the biggest one-month decline since February 2010.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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