Jobs Numbers Soar in March As Unemployment Rate Drops Again

JOBS GROWTH:

Reflecting the strongest growth recorded in seven months, 916,000 new jobs opened up in March. This follows positive adjustments in the figures for the last two months that resulted in a net increase of 156,000 more jobs than initially reported.

TOP INDUSTRIES:

Job growth in March was widespread, with the highest activity recorded in leisure and hospitality. Notable increases were also reported in both public and private education and construction, as pandemic restrictions continued to ease.

UNEMPLOYMENT:

The unemployment rate dropped another two-tenths of a point to 6.0%. 

WAGES:

Average hourly earnings declined by four cents in March, likely reflecting a surge in the employment of lower-paid workers. 

WORK WEEK:

The average work week increased to 34.9 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS:

The temporary help sector was relatively flat in March, although it did lose approximately 800 jobs. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

This month’s report offered good news across nearly every market segment. Particularly heartening is the fact that more than half of the new jobs created last month were filled by women, returning to the workforce in highly encouraging numbers as more schools reopened for onsite learning. The question now is whether this is the beginning of a sustained resurgence. We’ll have to wait until next month to make that call. However, we expect to see widespread improvements in the labor market, reflecting the continued resumption of economic activity, supported by accelerated vaccine distribution, the additional lifting of lockdown restrictions and significantly increased consumer spending after months of pent-up demand. On the jobs front, more employers are hiring, not just temporary positions but traditional full-time hires. Amid all this hiring activity, employers face a perennial challenge in finding candidates who are not simply available to work but ideally matched to each opportunity. More of the right matches will help us sustain the ongoing recovery.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, CNBC, The New York Times, Washington Post