March 2021 Jobs Report: Good News and Hopefully More to Come
The US economy gained 916,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate is at 6.0%, down from 6.2% in February.
This is exactly what we need to see. Yes, the labor market is still down 10.6 million jobs from where it would be absent the recession and the share of people with a job is still below pre-pandemic levels. We may still have a long way to go, but at this rate, by summer 2022, employment would catch up to where we would have been absent the pandemic.
There was a huge pickup in the pace of job gains, with bounceback in some of the most strongly affected sectors. Leisure and hospitality lead the way, contributing almost a third of the total job gains. It is also great to see the public sector adding jobs since during the last recovery, they slowed job growth.
Additionally, we saw these job gains translate into reduced unemployment for some of the workers most affected by the crisis. The Black unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points and the rate for Hispanic workers fell by 0.6 points. Unemployment also dropped most for less-educated workers, with unemployment falling most for those with a high school diploma or less.
This report is good news. Hopefully we will get even better news in the months ahead.
Nick Bunker is the Economic Research Director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the U.S. labor market. He was previously a Senior Policy Analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, an economics think tank. Prior to that, Nick was a Research Assistant at the Center for American Progress. He holds a B.S.F.S. in international economics from Georgetown University.