USA Unemployment Rate was 6.0% in March 2021

April 6, 2021

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 916,000 in March, as the unemployment rate declined to 6.0%, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). This improvement in the labour market is due to the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. BLS mentioned that in March, “job growth was widespread in March, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction.”

Leisure and hospitality employment rose by 280,000 in March 2021. Notably, employment increased in both public and private education, reflecting the continued resumption of in-person learning and other school-related activities in many parts of the country. According to BLS, “Employment rose by 76,000 in local government education, by 50,000 in state government education, and by 64,000 in private education.” While construction added 110,000 jobs in March. Employment in professional and business services increased by 66,000 over the month. Social assistance added 25,000, transportation and warehousing (+48,000), other services (+42,000), manufacturing (+53,000) and wholesale trade (+24,000). Additionally, employment in retail trade rose by 23,000 jobs, and mining increased by 21,000 jobs. Employment in financial activities increased by 16,000 jobs. Meanwhile, employment in health care and information were little changed in March.

Notably, the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased in March by 203,000 to 2.0 million. In March, the number of permanent job losers was little changed at 3.4 million. While the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) stood at 4.2 million. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks in March relatively unchanged at 2.2 million.

The labour force participation rate for March stood at 61.5%, while the employment population ratio stood at 57.8%. Nonetheless, persons employed part-time for economic reasons amounted to 5.8 million in March. Based on BLS assessment, “these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.”

In March, a total of 1.9 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 523,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in March, relatively unchanged over the month. These persons are not currently seeking work as they believe no jobs are available for them.


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