The United States added 431,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%bringing the labor market closer to where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the government said on Friday.
While payroll growth was slightly below analysts’ forecasts, the unemployment rate fell more than expected and is now close to the 3.5 percent level seen in February 2020before the massive layoffs that occurred when COVID-19 broke out across the country.
The number of unemployed fell to six millionAccording to the Labor Department report, just above its pre-pandemic level of 5.7 millionwhile the number of people whose employment was involuntarily terminated or who completed temporary work was 1.4 millionalso close to where he was in February 2020.
However, the number of people employed was still 1.6 million below its pre-pandemic levelaccording to data.
Job gains were broad-based last monthwith the leisure and hospitality sector, which encompasses the bars and restaurants that bore the brunt of the pandemic’s layoffs, adding 112,000 jobs.
Business and professional services firms added 102,000 jobs in March, retailers added 49,000 and manufacturing gained 38,000 jobs.
Average hourly earnings continued to rise amid a general rise in US inflationincreasing 5.6% in the last 12 months, according to the report.
The Labor Department also revised up its employment totals for January and February, saying they were together 95,000 higher than first reported.
(With information from AFP)