WASHINGTON — Non-farm payrolls increased by 216,000 and the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in two years, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Private payrolls increased by 230,000 in March.

The unemployment rate dipped to 8.8%.

Economists had expected 188,000 total non-farm payrolls and 200,000 private payrolls, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters. They forecast the jobless rate staying steady at 8.9%.

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