Private firms were predicted to add another 200,000 jobs in March, right in line with most expectations yet still another month of positive job growth, this according to payroll processing company ADP.

The Department of Labor announced today the headline unemployment rate actually rose slightly from 4.9% to 5.0% but that’s more of an indication that more people are actively looking for work as 215,000 official new jobs were created in private and public sectors.  January and February were revised slightly to 193,000 and 205,000 new jobs respectively. While historically “strong” job creation was anything above 325,000 to 350,000 the steady drumbeat of jobs in the 200,000 range indicates the economy is on track, it’s just not exactly burning rubber.

The Fed pays close attention to the jobs numbers and job creation hasn’t been a disappointment but what the Fed might pay more attention to when employment numbers are released is wage gains, which showed an annualized 2.3% rise. When consumers make more they, theoretically, buy more. Of course, buying more creates more new jobs and the chain continues. Consumer spending alone makes up more than two-thirds of the entire Gross Domestic Product. There is some argument about how much consumer spending actually contributes to GDP but it’s relatively easy to quantify at its most basic calculation comparing consumer consumption of all types to the GDP figure.

Jobs numbers haven’t exactly been on  a roller coaster ride with huge ups and downs but rather steady and another positive sign was the labor participation rate increasing to 63% meaning more people are out there looking for work once again.  The window for the next Fed move may be coming sooner rather than later but then again we all said the very same last year right around this time only to discover the economy wasn’t getting ready to take off after all.