US Non-Farm Payrolls Up 916K in March; Hospitality, Construction Contribute to the Surge
U.S. job growth surpassed expectations as employers hired more workers than expected in March, spurred by stronger economic growth and an aggressive vaccination effort that contributed to a surge in growth in the hospitality and construction sectors of the economy, the Labor Department revealed Friday.
Additionally, more pandemic relief money from the government, cemented expectations that an economic boom was underway. Quite possibly putting the U.S. on a path toward the greatest economic growth spurt since 1984.
Nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, according to the government. That was the biggest gain since last August. Data for February was revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 647,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0% last month from 6.2% in February.
Broad-Based Employment Gains
Employment gains were broad-based, but were especially strong in areas hit worst by the pandemic. A more encompassing measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons dropped to 10.7% from 11.1% in February.
The labor force continued to grow after losing more than 6 million Americans at one point last year. Another 347,000 workers came back, bringing the labor force participation rate to 61.5%, compared to 63.3% in February 2020.
There are still nearly 7.9 million fewer Americans counted as employed than in February 2020, while the labor force is down 3.9 million.
What Sectors Contributed to the Gains?
Leisure and hospitality, a sector critical to restoring the jobs market to its former strength, showed the strongest gains for the month with 280,000 new hires. Bars and restaurants added 176,000, while arts, entertainment and recreation contributed 64,000 to the total.
Even with the continued gains, the sector remains 3.1 million below its pre-pandemic total in February 2020.
With students heading back into schools, education hiring boomed during the month as well. Local, state and private education institutions combined to hire 190,000 more employees for the month.
Construction also saw a healthy gain of 110,000 new jobs, while professional and business services added 66,000 and manufacturing increased by 53,000. For construction, it was the strongest month of hiring since June 2020.
February’s Gain Revised Higher
In addition to the powerful gains for March, previous months also were revised considerably higher. The January total increased 67,000 to 233,000, while February’s revisions brought the total up by 89,000 to 468,000.
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