United States: Labor market conditions continue to improve in March
April 2, 2021
Total non-farm payrolls increased by 916,000 in March, beating analysts’ expectations of a 647,000 increase. This follows February’s 468,000 increase in payrolls. Employment gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education and construction drove the headline reading.
The unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 6.0% in March from 6.2% in February, and the labor force participation rate rose to 61.5% from 61.4% in February. Hourly earnings fell 0.1% month-on-month in March (February: +0.3% mom), while annual wage growth eased to 4.2% from 5.2% the month prior.
Commenting on the short-term outlook on the labor market, Andrew Grantham, a senior economist at CIBC Economics, noted:
“Looking forward, we would expect to see further strong job gains in the months ahead, particularly as people start to feel more confident spending their stimulus dollars on services such as travel and restaurants. However, that is of course dependent on vaccinations continuing at speed and those vaccinations being able to prevent serious illness from new variants.”
Author: Steven Burke, Economist