Businesses in the US added 916,000 jobs in March, beating the projected gain of 660,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 6% from 6.2%.
We’re beginning to see signs of our economy return to somewhat normal, pre-2020 standards as vaccinations have been made available to people. The 916,000 job increase generously surpassed the expectations of economists, who predicted that 675,000 positions would be added. Some notable fields of improvement, in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are leisure and hospitality, creating 280,000 positions, the restaurant industry, adding approximately 176,000 positions, construction added 110,000 positions, and state and local education with 126,000 positions. Before COVID-19 shocked the economy, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was at a historic low of 3.5% [ABC].
About 3.7 million Americans said the pandemic was the primary reason they didn’t look for jobs in March, down from 4.2 million in February. Roughly 11.4 million people said COVID-19 was the main reason their employer halted operations, down from 13.3 million. About 2 million people classified their unemployment as temporary, compared with 2.2 million in February. That reading is only a fraction of the 18 million at the peak in April 2020 but is much higher than prepandemic levels of about 700,000. Roughly 21% of workers said they telecommuted in March because of the pandemic. That was down from 22.2% in February, suggesting that the warmer weather and the lifting of restrictions had allowed more Americans to physically show up for work [Business Insider].
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asian workers ticked up 6% while falling to 7.9% for Hispanic workers. The unemployment rates for White workers and Black workers were little changed at 5.4% and 9.6%, respectively. The labor force participation rate held steady at 61.5%, down 1.8 percentage points from its February 2020 level. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls fell by 4 cents to $29.96 while the average hourly workweek increased by 0.3 hours to 34.9 hours. “While we’ll likely see strong jobs reports for months, within the March report were clues of problems we’ll face in the future,” said Robert Frick, a corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Labor participation and the number of long-term unemployed remained about the same, foreshadowing that moving millions of Americans back into the labor force will be an issue in the drive to return to pre-pandemic employment levels.”
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