Nonfarm payrolls increased by 916,000 in March as more vaccinations, and fewer restrictions spurred the labor market, according to Bloomberg.
- The latest reading is higher than the median estimate of a 660,000 rise in a Bloomberg survey of economists. It is also the highest in seven months.
- The unemployment rate fell to 6%, while February’s employment was revised up to a 486,000 gain.
- Gains were led by a 280,000 surge in leisure and hospitality; 126,000 in education; 110,000 in construction; 53,000 in manufacturing.
- The growth in local and state government education employment came as more schools reverted back to in-person learning.
- The participation rate improved to 61.5%, with the average workweek up by 18 minutes to 34.9 hours to reflect a bounce back from the severe winter the previous month.
- Labor Department Secretary Marty Walsh said the report was “very encouraging” but noted that “we still have a long way to go.”
- Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the recovery is “far from complete,” as payrolls remained 8.4 million below the pre-pandemic peak of about 152.5 million.