By Vicki Needham - 04/04/14 08:34 AM EDT
The economy added 192,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent.
Job figures were also adjusted in January and February in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report to account for more growth.
The figures suggest the economy has gained strength after a sluggish winter. In January, the economy added an additional 15,000 jobs, while another 22,000 were added in February.
Republican leaders used the report to criticize Senate Democrats for not taking up their jobs bills, while the White House praised the Senate for moving forward with an extension of federal unemployment benefits.
The Senate is expected to vote Monday on legislation to provide aid to about 2 million people who have lost the benefits.
But the Senate bill is not expected to be picked up the House, where GOP leaders have raised objections to it.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged the Senate to “act immediately” on House-passed Republican jobs bills to accelerate the pace of growth.
“Senate Democrats have no excuse for standing in the way of these common-sense jobs measures, many of which passed with bipartisan support, and I urge them to act immediately,” Boehner said in a statement.
Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, highlighted that the private sector has added 8.9 million jobs over the past four years.
The private sector has finally recovered all 8.8 million jobs lost during the recession, which officially ended in June 2009. But population growth during the same period has made it a struggle for the jobless rate to drop at a faster pace.
Furman expressed concern about the number of the long-term unemployed, which fell slightly last month but still represents nearly 36 percent of all of those who are out of work.
Furman argued that should spur the House to take up a bipartisan Senate measure to renew jobless benefits for those who have been out of work for at least six months.
“It’s important for the House to take that up,” he said on MSNBC.
The labor participation rate grew in the survey, which suggests more people are feeling optimistic about returning to the labor market to find a job.
About 500,000 workers entered the labor force in March and most found work, a positive that likely kept the unemployment rate from falling last month.
Construction firms added 19,000 workers, while retailers bounced back from a rough start to the year, adding 21,300 jobs.
This story was updated at 10:35 a.m.