The number of unemployed people jumped by 1.376 million from a year earlier to 4.730 million in the three months to March, while employment decreased by 831 thousand to 27.355 million. The non-farm sector lost 514 thousand jobs and the farm sector lost 296 thousand. Meanwhile, the number of people detached from the labour force increased by 122 thousand to 29.017 million. The labour force participation rate was steady at 52.5 percent and the employment rate went down to 44.8 percent from 46.6 percent.
The non-agricultural jobless rate climbed to 16.9 percent in the January-March period from 12.5 percent in the corresponding period of the prior year.
Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, also rose sharply to 26.1 percent from 19 percent a year earlier.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate increased to 13.6 percent in February from 13.3 percent in January.