Economy Added 431,000 Jobs In March As Unemployment Rate Falls To 3.6%

The U.S. economy added 431,000 in March, continuing its robust growth, as the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%.

The number of jobs added met or beat expectations, and signaled the continued return of normalcy from the Covid pandemic.

March was the month that many companies set for their employees to return to the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10% teleworked during March because of the pandemic, down from 13% the previous month.

Average hourly earnings rose by 13 cents to $31.73 in March. Those earnings have increased by 5.6% over the past 12 months.

The job gains were most significant in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade and manufacturing. Employment in movies and music — listed as motion pictures and sound recordings — rose to 425,500 jobs, an increase of about 8,400.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised jobs figures upward from previous months. It added 72,000 jobs to the total for Feburary, to 750,000, and 23,000 in January, to 504,000.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote on Twitter, “The March jobs report was right down the fairway – lots of jobs, lower unemployment, and higher labor force participation. The job market is rip-roaring. While not quite back to full-employment, the economy is close, and at the current pace of job growth will be there by summer.”

But given the low unemployment rate, the concern now is that the economy slow down. Zandi wrote that it “is somewhat disquieting in that the job market must cool off quickly, or inflation, our number one economic problem, will soon be a much bigger one.”

President Joe Biden is expected to address the jobs figures later today. Although the White House has touted the job gains since Biden took office, inflation has emerged as a key concern heading into the midterms, likely depressing Biden’s approval numbers.

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