Hickey Jobs Report Update - March 2021

Hickey Jobs Report Update – March 2021

Hickey Jobs Report Update – US adds 916,000 jobs as unemployment drops to 6%




U.S. economy exceeds highest expectations as 916,000 jobs are added with unemployment dropping to 6%, according to latest Jobs Report

As the nation gets vaccinated and overall consumer confidence returns, the U.S. economy has considerably exceeded expectations by adding 916,000 nonfarm jobs in March.  The hiring gains were distributed across the economy, primarily led by leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction.  The data in this update derives from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary, often referred to as the Jobs Report.

With these jobs returning to the economy, the overall unemployment rate has dropped to 6.0% from last month’s rate of 6.2%.  Overall, the unemployment rate has made great strides since the onset of the pandemic.  Still, the national rate is 2.5% above February 2020 levels with approximately 9.7 million unemployed persons across the country.  Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls experienced little movement, falling by 4 cents to $29.96.


Key Industries

Leisure and Hospitality

The industry rocked the worst from the pandemic is showing gains as Covid restrictions are lifting across the nation.  Altogether, the industry increased employment by 280,000.  The majority of these jobs came from food services and drinking places at 176,000.  Additional hiring surges came from arts, entertainment, and recreation at 64,000 and hotels and accommodation at 40,000.  While the industry shows signs of recovery, travel and hospitality is still down by 18.5%, or 3.1 million workers, from February 2020 levels.



Employment in both public and private education increased substantially in March 2021, primarily driven by expanded in-person learning and school-related activities.  Local government education hiring rose by 76,000, state government education employment increased by 50,000, and private education brought on 64,000 new workers.  Since February 2020, employment in these sectors is still down by nearly 1.2 million.



Following major job losses earlier this year, the construction industry added 110,000 jobs in March 2021.  Robust growth across the industry was driven by specialty trade contractors, heavy and civil engineering construction, and construction in buildings.


Professional and Business Services

With upward trends in hiring across the expansive industry, the largest gains were experienced in administrative and support services, management and technical consulting services, and computer systems design and related services.  Overall, the sector gained 66,000 workers in March but is still down by approximately 685,000 from February 2020.



Still down by 515,000 jobs from pre-pandemic levels, the manufacturing sector added 53,000 jobs in the previous month.  Durable goods added 30,000 jobs, while nondurable goods increased employment by 23,000.


Transportation and Warehousing

With tourism increasing due to domestic spring break travel, the heavily-impacted transportation and warehousing sector added 48,000 jobs in the previous month.  Among the most fascinating employment trends since the onset of the pandemic, the nation has added 206,000 couriers and messengers, an increase of 23.3%.  Meanwhile, transit and ground passenger employment is down 22.8% and air transportation is below pre-pandemic levels by 20.1%.


Retail Trade

The dynamic retail trade industry added 23,000 jobs in the previous month.  The largest gains were found in clothing and clothing accessories stores, motor vehicle and parts dealers, and furniture and home furnishing stores.  Overall, the industry is down by 381,000 from pre-pandemic levels, which included losses in March 2021 in building material and garden supply stores and general merchandise stores.



One of the more resilient industries since the pandemic reached American shores, finance added 16,000 jobs in March.  Leading sectors included insurance carriers and real estate.  Credit intermediation was among sectors with decreasing employment in March as the industry is still 87,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels. Employment in health care and information changed little in March.


Health Care 

With vaccination programs and testing and tracing efforts in effect across the nation, the health care industry was little changed in the previous month, adding 12,000 jobs.


Other Industries

Among other industries across the U.S. economy, the following employment numbers were released in the latest report:

  • Social Assistance: +25,000 jobs
  • Wholesale Trade: +24,000 jobs
  • Mining: +21,000 jobs


For more information on the latest Jobs Report, including additional details on the data concepts and statistical methodologies utilized, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary website.