U.S. hiring surged in March as the economic recovery accelerated, the start of what economists say could be a sustained run of job growth to industries, regions and workers hardest hit during the pandemic.
U.S. employers added a seasonally adjusted 916,000 jobs in March, the best gain since August, the Labor Department said Friday, and the unemployment rate, determined by a separate survey, fell to 6.0%, a pandemic low. Still, as of March, there are 8.4 million fewer jobs than in February 2020 before the pandemic hit.
The jobs rebound is gaining renewed momentum as more people are vaccinated against Covid-19, states lift restrictions on business activity, and consumers grow more comfortable dining, shopping and traveling outside their homes.
“There’s a seismic shift going on in the U.S. economy,” said Beth Ann Bovino, a Ph.D. economist at S&P Global. The confluence of additional federal stimulus, growing consumer confidence and the feeling that the pandemic is close to abating—despite rising infections in recent weeks—is propelling economic growth and hiring, she said.
Other recent data shows restaurant, hotel and airlines bookings are up and consumers are spending more at gyms, salons and spas in recent weeks than they have in more than a year. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic demand and is an important element of the recovery.