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US Economy Adds 211,000 Jobs; Unemployment Drops to 4.7 Percent

A U.S. government report says the nation's employers added 211,000 new jobs in March, dropping the unemployment rate slightly, to 4.7 percent.

The Labor Department report says job gains were spread throughout the non-farm economy - with the biggest gains in the areas of professional and business services, education and health services, and retail trade.

The 211,000 new jobs figure is well above what most economists had predicted (190,000) for March. Analysts say this is an indication the economy is continuing to strengthen.

In remarks to reporters at the White House, President Bush cited those new figures as evidence that Congress should make his tax-relief plan permanent, rather than let the tax cuts expire. Mr. Bush said the cuts are helping the economy move forward and create jobs.

The unemployment figure in February was 4.8 percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.