US adds 916,000 jobs in March


US employers added 916,000 jobs in March, with the unemployment rate edging down to 6.0 per cent, the Labor Department reported.

Job growth was “widespread” in the month, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction, according to the report released on Friday by the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 280,000, as pandemic-related restrictions eased in many parts of the country, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

It however, noted that the figure is still down by 3.1 million, or 18.5 per cent, since February 2020.

In March, employment increased in both public and private education, reflecting the continued resumption of in-person learning and other school-related activities, according to the report.

Construction added 110,000 jobs in March, following job losses of 56,000 in the previous month

that were “likely weather-related”, the report said.

President Joe Biden on Friday called the March jobs report “good news”, while noting that there are 8.4 million fewer jobs today than there were last March after “a year of devastation”.

“We still have a long way to go to get our economy back on track after the worst economic and job crisis in nearly a century,” Biden said.

“Too many Americans who have been unemployed for longer than six months. Too many women have been forced out of the workforce. Unemployment among people of colour remains far too high.”

The President urged Congress to debate his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, touting that it would create millions of well-paying blue-collar jobs.

The BLS report also showed that unemployment rate is down considerably from its recent high in April 2020 but is still 2.5 percentage points higher than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

The number of people who permanently lost their jobs stood at 3.4 million, was little changed in March, but is 2.1 million higher than a year earlier, the report showed.

Amid widespread shutdowns in March and April last year, 22 million Americans lost their jobs.

US unemployment is expected to decline to 5.0 per cent by year-end and 4.4 per cent by the end of 2022, still higher than the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 per cent, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics’ semiannual Global Economic Prospects.