The Labor Department’s new jobs report showed growth booming in March, well above expectations as vaccinations ramp up across the country, CNBC reports.
Nonfarm payrolls added 916,000 jobs in March, dropping the unemployment rate to 6%.
The increase was well above the projections, which expected an increase of about 675,000 jobs.
The total marks the highest increase since August 2020, when the economy added a whopping 1.58 million jobs.
“It shows that the economy is healing, that those who lost their jobs are coming back into the workforce as the recovery continues and restrictions are lifted,” Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told CNBC. “The only concern here is if we have another wave of Covid that leads to another round of closures.”
A long way to go:
The positive jobs numbers underscore just how far the country still has to go to get back to pre-pandemic employment numbers.
Though the report shows that 347,000 workers returned to the labor force last month, the labor participation rate has only grown to 61.5% compared to 63.3% last February.
There are still nearly 7.9 million fewer Americans employed than in February of 2020.
Hospitality, dining numbers rise:
The strongest gains in March were in the leisure and hospitality sector as major states reopened businesses following a winter surge in infections.
The industry added 280,000 new jobs, including 176,000 among restaurants and bars and 64,000 in the arts, entertainment, and recreation space.
But there are still 3.1 million fewer jobs in the sector than there were last February.
Education institutions also added another 190,000 jobs.
Construction jobs grew by 110,000.
The professional and business services sector added another 66,000 jobs and manufacturing jobs increase by 53,000.