Americans are going back to work and their wages are finally showing signs of increasing. Combine that with low inflation, low interest rates, low gas prices and low unemployment and you have an economy that is now humming along since the Great Recession.

And that’s not an April Fools’ joke!

In fact, the U.S. labor force grew at the fastest pace on record in the past six months, according to Labor Department data released Friday.

“It’s clearly a strong report across the board, and I was particularly encouraged by the pickup in labor force participation,” said Michelle Meyer, deputy head of United States economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“The March jobs report is another rebuke to the Wall Street pessimism about an imminent downturn,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush and head of the policy think-tank American Action Forum.

The Labor Department said on Friday that the proportion of Americans in the labor force crept up slightly to 63 percent — the highest level in two years.

Over all, the economy added 215,000 jobs in March, as employers continued to hire at a robust pace. Today’s report suggests the economy has avoided so far the bubblelike excesses that prevailed in the late 1990s and just before the Great Recession began in December 2007.

The unemployment rate is at 5 percent, down from 5.5 percent a year ago.


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