US Job Growth Surpassed Expectations In March; April Should Be Robust

As I previewed, US job growth beat expectations in March (+660ke). According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nonfarm payrolls increased by 916k (the largest gain since August 2020) and were revised upward both in February (+468k v +379k prior) and in January (+233k v +49k prior).

us jobs growth March 2021

The details showed broad-based gains across industries in March and confirmed that the improvement was boosted by reopening and weather normalization in several states. As a matter of fact, leisure and hospitality sectors added 280k jobs (supported by a spike of mobility) while local and state government education payrolls increased by about 126k, partly reflecting the return of more in-person learning at schools.

In the meantime, construction employment (more senstitive to climate conditions) rose 110k (the biggest gain since June 2020). Manufacturing payrolls also jumped 53k (the largest spike since September 2020) and almost in line with the ADP report, namely +49k.

US jobs growth is likely to remain robust in April. As a reminder, the reference period of the Establishment Survey is the pay period including the 12th of the month. Therefore, it didn’t take into account the second part of the month when high-frequency indicators showed a significant improvement of the labor market situation. As a reminder, on March 26, 2021, job postings on Indeed “were 13.5% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal variation.” In the details, “That’s a big jump from a week earlier when postings were 10.7% above the baseline. Postings improved over the past week at a faster rate than during the summer 2020 rebound when postings rose by an average of 1.6 percentage points per week.” 

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