It is no coincidence that the blowout jobs report for March arrived on Friday, the same day that new government guidelines allow Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel safely. As vaccination spreads, millions of Americans are returning to normal commercial and social interactions, and even the most lockdown-loving governors are being forced to relax their restrictions. The US economy is coming back to life on time.
That was the welcome message of 916,000 jobs gained in March and an upward revision of another 156,000 for January and February. The gains in March were in most industries, but particularly in the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. The leisure and hospitality industry have created 280,000 jobs, almost two thirds of them in restaurants and bars. As more schools reopened, so did the number of new hires in state and local education (126,000).
The TrendMacro company owned by our employee Donald Luskin reports that the proportion of the population unable to work due to companies affected by the pandemic fell to 4.4% in March. Last July it was 12%. The TrendMacro social distancing index, which is based on mobile phone mobility, is also close to pre-pandemic levels.
The economy still has 7.9 million jobs from its pre-pandemic peak, but the rapid growth in employment should continue as the pace of vaccination accelerates. The unemployment rate fell to 6%, and the increases were particularly strong for Americans 25 and over with no high school diploma (from 10.1% in February to 8.2%). This makes sense because they were the workers most vulnerable to pandemic layoffs.
Politicians are taking note of sunny days, so it’s no surprise they claim the job gains were the result of the $ 1.9 trillion bill that went into effect March 11. “If the American bailout could lead to these numbers, imagine what’s bigger and bolder. The American employment plan will be enough for our recovery,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.