Key Highlights

  • US employers added 916,000 workers to payrolls
  • Unemployment rate dropped to 6% from February’s 6.2%

Spring Sprung Open in March’s Labor Market

Like the buds on the trees, March’s job market came to life. Employers added 916,000 to their payrolls.  The unemployment rate dropped to 6% from 6.2% in February.

According to Nela Richardson, chief economist with the payroll processor ADP, “The labor market recovery has awakened from its winter slump.”

Job Growth Improved Over Last Three Months

Job gains for January and February have been revised upwards as the weather began improving.  Now, according to Ray Sandza, vice president of data and analytics with Homebase, provider of payroll software to restaurants and other small businesses, “People want out.  They’re enjoying themselves more than they did before.  Businesses can see the corner rounding so they’re willing to bring more people on.”

The problem here?  Less diligence when it comes to public health.  With COVID cases beginning to surge in the majority of states, medical researchers and providers are again up at night worrying about COVID variants overtaking our hospitals and threatening lockdowns.

Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said, “It’s almost like a race to try to get the maximum number of people vaccinated before the virus has a chance to mutate into something that we can’t handle.”

Who Has Been Hiring?

Construction companies added 110,00 workers in March.  Schools and colleges added 190,000 workers plus restaurants and bars, though we have no specific numbers as yet, replenished their workers.

Factory managers are finding some of the strongest business conditions in multiple decades.  Tom Fiore with the Institute for Supply Managementsaid that there’s a strain on parts suppliers and delivery networks simply because “…demand is so great.  These are great headaches to have.”

Outlook from Experts

Despite March’s job gains, Bostic with Atlantic’s Federal Reserve cautioned that the US labor market has a long way to go to recover full employment. There are still 8.4M payroll jobs now than there were pre-pandemic

Bostic said, “Even at a million (additional) jobs a month – which would be an incredible number – we’re still looking at least into 2022 before…we’ll be in a position to really exhale and let the marketplace play out as it will.”

The Federal Reserve is expecting overall consumer prices to increase +2.4% this year with the caveat that any jump in inflation “is likely to be temporary.”


Thanks to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor and National Public Radio.


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