The March jobs report was one of the most newsworthy yet, with a total gain of 431,000 nonfarm employment, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Notably, the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent, edging it closer to pre-pandemic levels.
This robust jobs report came out amid fears about inflation and a possible recession.
March Jobs Report Highlights
- The biggest gains belonged to leisure and hospitality, one of the hardest-hit economic sectors.
- Food and beverage is showing particularly robust growth.
- Some sectors of the economy have blown past their pre-pandemic levels: employment in professional and business services is 723,000 higher than in February 2020 and retail trade employment is 278,000 above its level in February 2020.
Growth in Leisure and Hospitality
Leisure and hospitality showed a strong gain of 112,000 in March, signaling a strong consumer appetite to get out and enjoy excursions and time outside the home. Most of the job growth occurred in the following areas:
- +61,000 jobs in food services and drinking places
- +25,000 jobs in accommodation
Big gains in Professional and Business Service Jobs
There was also strong job growth in professional and business services in March, with an addition of over 100,000 jobs.
These were concentrated in the following areas:
- Services to buildings and dwellings (+22,000)
- Accounting and bookkeeping services (+18,000)
- Management and technical consulting services (+15,000)
- Computer systems design and related services (+12,000)
- Scientific research and development services (+5,000).
The Retail Sector Experiences Growth
There were strong gains in retail, with 49,000 jobs added, easing some of the fears around inflation as consumer demand remains strong. The gains were concentrated in:
- General merchandise stores (+20,000)
- Food and beverage stores (+18,000)
Other notable job gains
- Manufacturing added 38,000 jobs in March.
- Employment in financial activities rose by 16,000, with gains in real estate and rental and leasing, securities, commodity contracts, and investments.
Get Tips on Hiring in the Post-Pandemic Economy
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Catch Up With Previous Jobs Reports
- February’s blockbuster growth
- January’s strong growth despite Omicron
- Promising news for hospitality in December
- November’s mixed picture
- October’s robust gains
- A slower-than-expected report in September
- The summer‘s roaring recovery trajectory
- Better than expected growth in June, especially in travel
- Strong signs of recovery in May
- An anemic April jobs report