The March jobs report on Friday showed the U.S. economy regained 916,000 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 6% from 6.2%.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 675,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 6%.
Below are some initial reactions from economists and other analysts, as U.S. stock futures ES00,
• “The better than expected 916,000 rebound in non-farm payrolls in March still leaves employment 8.4 million below its pre-pandemic peak from just over a year ago but, with the vaccination program likely to reach critical mass within the next couple of months and the next round of fiscal stimulus providing a big boost, there is finally real light at the end of the tunnel. Reflecting the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions, leisure & hospitality employment increased by 280,000 last month, although it is still down by 3.1 million from the pre-pandemic peak.” — Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics
• “Job growth finally shifting into higher gear … The weakness caused by weather in February seems to have fully reversed itself this month. However, one thing that sticks out to us is that we had expected more of this month’s hiring to be concentrated in leisure & hospitality based on the reopening of the service sector in many places. The relatively small rebound here, in a labor-intensive sector, suggests to us that there will be an even bigger rebound in hiring in the months ahead.”— Thomas Simons and Aneta Markowska, economists at Jefferies
• “In one line: Improving rapidly, but better — much better — numbers are coming in Q2.” — Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics
• “Just as important as the big jobs number are the types of jobs added. While leisure and hospitality, the hardest-hit sectors, gained the most, other gains show the economy is broadly under repair. For example, good hiring in education shows teachers are returning to work as schools reopen, and gains in manufacturing finally reflect the resurgence of that sector. But while we’ll likely see strong jobs reports for months, within the March report were clues of problems we’ll face in the future. Labor participation and the number of long-term unemployed remained about the same, foreshadowing that moving millions of Americans back into the labor force will be an issue in the drive to return to pre-pandemic employment levels.” — Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union
• “Huge number of jobs added, both in private and public sector. The rebound of leisure and hospitality and jump in construction has meant that Hispanic unemployment is edging down after a historic high. Black unemployment down a bit, but still higher than two months ago.” — Kate Bahn, director of labor market policy and economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth
• “Job gains were strongest in leisure & hospitality, reflecting reopenings in many states, but we also saw solid increases in education, government and construction (the latter of which was held back by weather disruptions in the prior month). Aggregate hours worked surged by 1.5%, following a weather-driven decline in the prior month. Even after today’s strong gain, however, payrolls remain 8.4 million (or 5.5%) below their pre-pandemic peak, with big holes still to fill in the hardest hit services areas.” — Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC