March 2021 Jobs Report Shows 916,000 Jobs Added in COVID-19 Recovery

Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Total nonfarm employment in the United States rose by 916,000 jobs and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent in March 2021 as the labor market continued to reflect the ongoing recovery from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS jobs report for March 2021 revealed the number of unemployed persons decreased to 9.7 million but is still 4.0 million higher than in February 2020. Job growth in March 2021 was widespread, with the largest gains occurring in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction.

  • Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 280,000 jobs in March 2021 but is down by 3.1 million jobs since February 2020.
  • Public and private education employment rose by 76,000 jobs in local government education, by 50,000 jobs in state government education, and by 64,000 jobs in private education but is down 594,000 jobs in local government education, 270,000 jobs in state government education, and 310,000 jobs in private education from February 2020.
  • Construction employment added 110,000 jobs in March 2021 but is 182,000 jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Professional and business services employment rose by 66,000 jobs in March 2021 but is down by 685,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Manufacturing employment increased by 53,000 jobs in March 2021 but is down by 515,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment added 48,000 jobs in March 2021. Since February 2020, employment in couriers and messengers is up by 206,000 jobs, while employment is down by 112,000 jobs in transit and ground passenger transportation and by 104,000 jobs in air transportation.
  • Other services industry employment increased by 42,000 in March 2021 but is down by 396,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Social assistance employment added 25,000 jobs in March 2021 but is 306,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Wholesale trade employment increased by 24,000 jobs in March 2021 but is 234,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Retail trade employment added 23,000 jobs in March 2021 but is 381,000 jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Mining employment rose by 21,000 jobs in March 2021 but is down by 130,000 jobs since a peak in January 2019.
  • Financial activities employment added 16,000 jobs in March 2021 but has 87,000 fewer jobs than in February 2020.
  • Health care and information employment changed little in March 2021.

The jobs report showed the change in employment for January 2021 was revised from 166,000 jobs added to 233,000 jobs added, while February 2021 was revised from 379,000 jobs added to 468,000 jobs added. With these revisions, gains in January 2021 and February 2021 were 156,000 jobs higher than previously reported.

As in previous months, some workers affected by the pandemic who should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff were instead misclassified as employed but not at work. However, the share of
misclassified responses was highest in the early months of the pandemic and has been lower in recent months.

Since March 2020, the BLS has published an estimate of what the unemployment rate might have been had misclassified workers been included among the unemployed. Repeating this same approach, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March 2021 would have been 0.4 percentage point higher than reported.

The jobs report is usually released on the first Friday of every month at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. The jobs report for April 2021 will be released on Friday, May 7, 2021. More information about the March 2021 jobs report is at www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-march-2021.htm.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of April 2, 2021, there are more than 129 million global cases and 2.8 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 30 million cases and 553,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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