In March the U.S. economy added the most jobs since August, the Labor Department reported this morning. Payrolls increased by 916,000 jobs in the month. (And the February numbers were revised upwards to show a gain of 468,000 jobs.) The combination was enough to send the official unemployment rate to 6.0% from 6.2% in February. One of the biggest pickups came from an increase of 126,000 jobs in local and state education employment as more classrooms returned to in-person learning. But the gains were led by a 280,000 surge in the leisure and hospitality sector. Construction payrolls jumped 110,000 after dipping in February amid severe winter weather. Manufacturing employment increased by 53,000 last month, the biggest advance since September. In other words job gains across the board.
The U-6 unemployment rate, which unlike the official employment rate includes discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work and workers in part-time positions who are looking for full time work, declined to 10.7% from 11.1%. The participation rate, which is the share of the population that is either working or actively looking for work, improved to 61.5% last month from 61.4%.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were projecting a gain of 660,000 jobs and a drop in the official unemployment rate to 6%.
U.S. stock markets are closed today, April 2, for Good Friday. But in the bond market the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose as high as 1.70%, 2 basis points above yesterday’s close in a shortened session. S&P 500 futures were up 0.5% as of 9:09 a.m. in New York after the release of the jobs report.