April 05, 2021

March jobs report stronger than anticipated; NAFCU expects strong recovery in 2021

Jobs ReportThe Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed non-farm payrolls increased 916,000 in March, with the unemployment rate dipping to 6 percent. NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long analyzed the report in a new NAFCU Macro Data Flash report.

“The March jobs report topped expectations as the unemployment rate fell to 6 percent,” said Long. “Gains were broad, extending beyond the hard-hit restaurant and retail sectors. The employment-to-population ratio among prime age workers improved by even more than the unemployment rate, as participation picked up.

“Despite the positive news, there remain 4.2 million workers that have been sidelined for more than six months, and there was only modest improvement last month among the 3.4 million workers on permanent job loss,” Long added.

Of note, the February non-farm payrolls rate was revised up significantly to a gain of 468,000.

Average hourly earnings fell 4 cents in March, with year-over-year growth at 4.2 percent. The labor force participation rate rose 0.1 percent to 61.5 percent, significantly down from 63.3 percent in February of 2020.

Results among the major industries were positive across the board. Leisure and hospitality gained 280,000 jobs, followed by 136,000 jobs in the government sector, construction (+110,00), and health care and health services sector (+101,000). Information technology lost 2,000 jobs followed by motor vehicle manufacturing (-1,000).

“The overall deficit is still enormous and achieving full employment remains a long way off,” concluded Long. “However, accelerating vaccine distribution, warmer weather, and fiscal stimulus are creating conditions for a strong recovery in 2021.”