US Jobs Report for March Heavily Outpaces Projections as Country Begins to Reopen

By Thomas Price Friday, April 2, 2021

Following heavy layoffs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment is slowly making a comeback as the United States (US) economy begins to recover. With more businesses reopening as restrictions on travel and indoor capacity begin to ease, jobs across several different sectors have begun to return. This has come to fruition following the release of the March jobs report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The March jobs report heavily outpaced projections from most economists, providing significant optimism for the rest of 2021.

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Details of US March Jobs Report

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a whopping 916,000 nonfarm jobs were added over the course of March. At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped down to 6%. This increase in payrolls heavily outpaced expectations from economists who were only projecting around 675,000 jobs added to the economy over the course of the month. Even more encouraging than this has been where large portions of these jobs were added.

In the leisure and hospitality business sector, a whopping 280,000 new jobs were added, suggesting that the nationwide reopenings are serving as a major economic catalyst. Businesses such as bars and restaurants also saw major gains, with the business sector seeing 176,000 new jobs added over the course of the month.

At the same time, more than 347,000 workers returned to the workforce. This helped bump the labor force participation rate from 61.5% up to 63.3%. A large reason for such tremendous gains comes from the level of business activity. After severely lowered rates due to pandemic-related restrictions limiting capacity and travel, activity has resumed. In fact, business activity is now at 93.5% of pre-pandemic levels, suggesting a return to some kind of normalcy during the year.

Road to Full Economic Recovery in 2021

While the latest jobs report serves as a major boost to economic prospects for the rest of the year, there is still significant work to still be done before the economy will be operating at pre-pandemic levels. This is largely due to the initial drop of 6 million jobs during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

While millions of jobs have been added since then, there are still a whopping 3.1 million jobs that have yet to be recovered. Most analysts expect that this number will not be fully resolved by the end of 2021, even as most are projecting historic levels of economic growth.

When commenting on the recent jobs report, Chief US Economist at Capital Economics, Paul Ashworth, said, “The better than expected 916,000 rebound in non-farm payrolls in March still leaves employment 8.4 million below its pre-pandemic peak from just over a year ago but, with the vaccination program likely to reach critical mass within the next couple of months and the next round of fiscal stimulus providing a big boost, there is finally real light at the end of the tunnel. Reflecting the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions, leisure & hospitality employment increased by 280,000 last month, although it is still down by 3.1 million from the pre-pandemic peak.”

About the Author

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Tom Price is a writer focusing on entertainment and sports features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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