The recovery from the coronavirus recession is accelerating as the U.S. economy added a whopping 916,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 6 percent in March following Joe Biden’s stimulus deal, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The March jobs report showed the U.S. economy picking up speed after President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion relief plan meant to give struggling households and businesses a bridge to the other side of the pandemic. Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified.
The 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%.
Economists projected the U.S. to gain 675,000 jobs in March as consumer and business confidence rose, manufacturing activity sped up, and workforce management companies reported steady rises in hiring and hours worked.
The Labor Department also revised February’s surprisingly strong gain from an initially reported 379,000 jobs up to 468,000, and January’s gain of 166,000 jobs up to 233,000, a combined total of 156,000 more jobs.
The hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector led March’s haul with a gain of 280,000, 176,000 in food and beverage service places. Arts, entertainment, and recreation added 64,000 jobs and accommodation added 40,000.
Education added 190,000 jobs in March as in-person schooling resumed across much of the U.S., and the construction sector added 110,000 jobs. Professional and business services added 66,000 jobs, manufacturing employment rose by 53,000, and retailers added 23,000 workers.
A survey found that manufacturing grew in March at its fastest pace since 1983.