U.S. Economy Crushes Projections With 916,000 New Jobs in March: Which Industry Sectors Added Most
The U.S. is still 8.4 million jobs short of where it was pre-pandemic, but March brought unexpectedly good news. According to the Labor Department's most recent report, the U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs over the last month, significantly more than the 675,000 economists had projected.
The Labor Department also revised January's job gains from 166,000 up to 233,000, and February's from 379,000 up to 468,000. These gains, likely influenced by increasing vaccinations and the latest round of $1.6 trillion in economic relief from the federal government, are an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy.
Many economists and analysts are projecting an accelerated recovery in spring and summer, with a potential boom as vaccinated Americans return to normal activity in larger numbers. Recent spikes in infections and concern over coronavirus variants (plus questions over how many Americans will choose not to get a vaccine) should temper expectations some, but for now, there's reason for optimism.
The numbers also tell us which sectors are recovering the fastest. According to the Labor Department's statistics:
- Leisure and hospitality had the largest gain in March, adding 280,000 jobs. Close to two-thirds of these (176,000) were in food service and drinking places. Arts, entertainment and recreation gained 64,000, while accommodation gained 40,000).
- Education added 190,000 jobs. Local government education led with 76,000, followed by private education with 64,000. State government education added 50,000.
- Construction added 110,000 jobs in March. Half of these (65,000) came from specialty trade contractors, while 27,000 came from heavy and civil engineering and 18,000 came from building construction.
- Business and professional services added 66,000 jobs.
- Manufacturing added 53,000 jobs.
- Transportation and warehousing added 48,000 jobs. Employment in couriers and messengers is actually up 206,000 jobs (23.3%) overall from February 2020, owing to surging e-commerce, though other transportation sub-sectors, such as passenger ground and air transportation, remain down.
Again, overall jobs numbers remain well below pre-pandemic levels, and it may be some time before marketing budgets return even for industries that are bringing back workers. But any gains are welcome, and with March numbers beating projections by 35%, it's an encouraging sign for U.S. job sectors and the promo companies that rely on them for business.