March Jobs Report Far Exceeds Expectations

April 2, 2021

Job growth boomed in March, as vaccine distribution and economic reopenings fueled strong demand for labor, especially in the hospitality and leisure sectors. 

The economy added 916,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department. This is well ahead of the 675,000 that Wall Street had forecast. This is the highest monthly gain since August, when 1.58 million jobs were added.

The unemployment fell to 6%, meeting economist predictions. A broader measure of unemployment that includes workers who have taken part-time jobs and those who have stopped looking for work, fell to 10.7% from 11.1% in February.

The labor force also continued to recover after losing more than 6 million workers last year. 347,000 workers entered the workforce last month, bringing the labor participation rate to 61.5%. In February 2020, just before the pandemic began, the labor participation rate stood at 63.3%.

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