BREAKING NEWS: US employers added 916,000 jobs in March

BREAKING NEWS: US employers added 916,000 jobs in March – the most since August and almost TWICE more than in February – in a sign the economy is roaring back to life

  • U.S. employers added 916,000 jobs last month
  • It is nearly double the amount in February
  • Comes as vaccine doses have proliferated and infections plateaued, then ticked up again 
  • Congress passed and President Biden signed a £1.9 trillion recovery package
  • Market futures were up in advance of the report
  • Biden planned statement to cheer the effort before leaving Washington 
  • Even with last month’s robust increase, the economy remains more than 8 million jobs short of the number it had before the pandemic erupted 

By Associated Press and Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For

Published: 17:14, 1 April 2021 | Updated: 14:43, 2 April 2021

America’s employers unleashed a burst of hiring in March, adding 916,000 jobs in a sign that a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession is taking hold as vaccinations accelerate, stimulus checks flow through the economy and businesses increasingly reopen.

The March increase – the most since August – was nearly double February’s gain of 468,000, the Labor Department said Friday. 

The unemployment rate declined from 6.2% to 6%.

Friday’s jobs report showed that  916,000 jobs were added to the economy in March, a sign that a sustained recovery from the pandemic is taking hold 

Even with last month’s robust increase, the economy remains more than 8 million jobs short of the number it had before the pandemic erupted a little over a year ago. 

But with the recovery widely expected to strengthen, many forecasters predict enough hiring in the coming months to recover nearly all those lost jobs by year’s end.

The increasingly bright outlook for the labor market follows a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections and small business closures. 

Numerous signs suggest that the economy is improving. 

Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified.

A survey found that manufacturing grew in March at its fastest pace since 1983. 

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to 719,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday

New Yorkers in need line up to receive free produce during a Pop-Up Food pantry event hosted by Food Bank For New York City at Barclays Center on September 10, 2020 in New York City. Hiring by U.S. companies is increasing according to March jobs data

The report comes during a week when President Joe Biden rolled out a plan to spend £2.3 trillion in infrastructure and other projects, following enactment of a £1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package

Workers toil on a project to replace old water lines under Main Street as part of a project to update water and sewer systems as well as prepare the road for the expansion of a street car line in Kansas City, Mo.

Wednesday, March 30, 2021. March hiring doubled from the prior month, although government data released April 1 also saw an uptick in unemployment claims

And vaccinations are increasingly being administered, although new confirmed infections have risen from lower levels in recent weeks.

The U.S. is now delivering an average of more than 2 million shots to people each day, and President Biden has set a goal of having every U.S. adult able to sign up for a shot by May 1. 

The £1,400 checks in President Joe Biden’s £1.9 trillion economic relief plan have sharply increased consumer spending, according to Bank of America’s tracking of its debit and credit cards. 

Some of the spending in the new law is immediate, but other programs will keep pumping funds into the economy for years.

On Wednesday, Biden touted a new £2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. Although it was immediately panned by Republicans, Democratic leaders have floated ways to get it through the Senate on a simple majority.

That means a big package like the one Biden spelled out could get pushed through if Speaker Nancy Pelosi can get it through the House and Democrats can win over a few wavering centrists. 

Biden has arranged to speak on the jobs report Friday before he heads off to Camp David. The stock market has also shot upwards amid the encouraging signs. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer jumped on the news and credited the coronavirus relief plan, while making a pitch for Biden’s infrastructure plan.

‘If the American Rescue Plan could lead to these numbers, imagine what the even bigger, bolder American Jobs Plan will do for our recovery. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas.

I’ll work with President Biden to pass a robust American Jobs Plan that will drive our country forward for decades to come,’ he said in a statement.

Spending jumped 23% in the third week of March compared with pre-pandemic levels, the bank said.

Spending had begun to rise in March even before the stimulus checks arrived as viral case counts have tumbled from their heights in January. Americans are increasingly willing to venture out from home to travel and eat out, though not yet at their pre-pandemic pace. Roughly 1.5 million people traveled through airports on March 28, according to the Transportation Services Administration.

That was roughly eight times the figure of a year ago, although it was still down sharply from 2.5 million on the same day in 2019.

The transportation analytics firm Inrix has calculated that daily car trips returned to pre-pandemic levels late last month. Many of those trips have likely been to restaurants, where the volume of seated diners was just 25% below pre-pandemic levels, on average, in the last week of March, according to OpenTable, a restaurant software provider. That’s up from 50% below pre-pandemic traffic just six weeks earlier.

The burgeoning economic activity is showing signs of translating into more jobs.

Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America, a recruiting firm, said the company is seeking to fill 38% more permanent jobs than it was at the end of last year.

Demand for workers is particularly strong in manufacturing, information technology, logistics, and health care.

On April 1, the day before the new jobs report, Labor Department data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to 719,000, signaling that many employers are still cutting jobs even as more businesses reopen.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of claims increased from 658,000 the week before. 

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