U.S. Employment Spikes In March, Unemployment Rate Drops To One-Year Low

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A closely watched report released by the Labor Department on Friday showed employment in the U.S. spiked by much more than expected in the month of March.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 916,000 jobs in March after climbing by an upwardly revised 468,000 jobs in February.

Economists had expected employment to jump by 647,000 jobs compared to the addition of 379,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The bigger than expected increase in employment reflected widespread job growth, with employment in the leisure and hospitality sector once again leading the way.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector shot up by 280,000 jobs in March after jumping by 384,000 jobs in February.

The report also showed a significant rebound in government employment, reflecting increased employment in education amid the continued resumption of in-person learning and other school-related activities in many parts of the country.

Construction employment also rebounded, climbing by 110,000 jobs in March after falling by 56,000 jobs in February, reflecting the unwinding of the impact of severe winter weather.

The stronger than expected job growth resulted in a continued decrease by the unemployment rate, which fell to 6.0 percent in March from 6.2 percent in February. The drop matched expectations.

With the decrease, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since hitting 4.4 percent in March of 2020, when coronavirus lockdowns were just starting to take effect.

The drop in the unemployment rate came as household employment jumped by 609,000 persons compared with a 347,000-person increase in the size of labor force.

Meanwhile, the report said average hourly employee earnings edged down by $0.04 or 0.1 percent to $29.96. Annual wage growth slowed to 4.2 percent in March from 5.2 percent in February.

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