Nonfarm Payroll Employment Increased by 916,000 in March with Unemployment Down to 6.0%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday (4-2-21) reported that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 916,000 in March — down by 8.4 million, or -5.5%, from its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020. Job growth in March was widespread, with the largest gains occurring in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction. The unemployment rate in March edged down to 6.0%. While the unemployment rate is down considerable from its recent high in April 2020, it remains 2.5% higher than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. The number of unemployed persons, at 9.7 million, continued to trend down in March but remains 4.0 million higher than February 2020. The BLS has provided a snapshot of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 4.2 million, changed little over the month but is up by 3.1 million since February 2020. In March, these long-term unemployed accounted for 43.4% of the total unemployed. The number of persons jobless 5 to 14 weeks declined by 313,000 to 1.9 million. The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks, at 2.2 million, was essentially unchanged over the month.

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