After a winter slowdown, the job market hit a milestone in March as the private sector finally recovered all the jobs lost in the 2008 financial crisis.
The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Those job gains came entirely from the private sector, as government jobs were flat.
Looking strictly at the private sector, that means the labor market is back to its pre-crisis peak.
Could it be a turning point for workers and their wages?
For the last few years, employers have had access to a large pool of potential workers, so there was little incentive to raise wages to retain employees.
Tom Simons, an economist with Jefferies & Co., thinks the job market is nearing a point where that could change. Wages fell by 1 cent in March, but are still up 49 cents from a year ago, according to the BLS.
About 10.5 million Americans remain unemployed, and 36% have been without a job for at least six months. Meanwhile, another 7.4 million people are working part-time, even though they would prefer full-time hours.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said both these numbers are far too high and give her reason to believe the central bank should continue stimulating the economy, at least by keeping interest rates low for a "considerable time."