More than 916,000 new jobs were posted last month, according to the latest Department of Labor figures, the strongest numbers seen since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic a year ago.
Overall, the nation’s unemployment rate has now fallen to around 6%, down from a devastating 14% last spring.
Analysts said the recovery is partly due to businesses across the country reopening, as well as a wider availability of vaccines.
Additional data, reports the Wall Street Journal, shows that “restaurant, hotel, and airline bookings are up, and consumers are spending more at gyms, salons, and spas in recent weeks than they have in more than a year.”
The new job gains were led by an increase of more than 280,000 in the Labor Department category that includes hotels and restaurants.
But the gains in the construction industry weren’t too shabby either, with more than 110,000 jobs recorded last month. That gain is seen as being particularly significant given that jobs in the industry were off by 56,000 in February, primarily due to cold weather.
Total construction jobs now stand at nearly 7.5 million, a number that still remains some 182,000 less than where the industry was in the month before the Covid outbreak.
In a statement, Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, said the “rebound in March is certainly good news, but contractors face growing challenges that imperil further growth in nonresidential employment.”
Anirban Basu, chief economist with the Associated Builders and Contractors, called the new jobs numbers a precursor of good things to come.
“Here comes the tsunami of economic and employment growth across American,” Basu said in a press release. “With more stimulus on the way, the United States may end up growing faster than China this year, which would be the first time that occurred in decades.”
Total nonresidential construction jobs in March came in at 4.4 million, up from 4.3 million the month before, while the nonresidential sector improved from 809,000 jobs in February to nearly 817,000 last month.
By Garry Boulard
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