U.S. Economy Makes Progress Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Adding 916,000 Jobs in March

Ariel Go Jr
Trending Writer

In response to COVID-19, the United States had to implement measures to slow the spread of the virus such as social distancing and a partial economic shutdown, actions which have had a major impact on the U.S. economy, including people’s livelihoods and jobs. The immediate effects that the pandemic has had on the U.S. labor market have been evident in both the unemployment rate and payroll employment numbers. In the early months of the pandemic, the unemployment rate soared, peaking at 14.7% in April 2020, the highest point since the Great Depression. More than 20 million jobs were lost in April as well, which was a record number of jobs lost in a period of one month.

In recent months, however, the economy of the United States has been making progress as the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has accelerated, state and federal restrictions have gradually eased, and the American Rescue Plan has been signed by President Joe Biden. This $1.9 trillion relief plan is aimed at giving households and businesses financial support, like the third stimulus package that has handed $1,400 checks to individuals in the country.

Although cases have been rising in multiple states which could prove to be damaging to the economy, around 30% of the U.S. population has received a vaccination against the virus and 16.9% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Consumer and business confidence have also been on the rise. Workforce management companies have reported a constant rise in hiring and number of hours worked, and manufacturing activity has also picked up speed.

The economy shows signs of recovery with 916,000 new jobs in March (Photo courtesy of AP News)

With the renewed resumption of economic activity, economists of the United States had projected that the country would generate 675,000 jobs in March. Surprisingly, the U.S. exceeded expectations and was able to add 916,000 jobs in March, the highest surge in hiring since August of last year, with gains in various sectors, including service-providing and goods-producing industries. In addition, the unemployment rate has fallen significantly to 6 percent. While the U.S. is still short by 8.4 million jobs compared to how the economy looked before the pandemic, the report concerning March jobs demonstrated an encouraging and positive step forward.

The largest gains in terms of jobs in March were found in the leisure and hospitality sectors, which have helped the three groups who were hit hardest by the pandemic: low wage workers, people of color, and women. Leisure and hospitality were able to add 280,000 jobs throughout the month. The education sector added 190,000 jobs in March due to the continuation of in-person classes across most of the U.S., construction added approximately 100,000 jobs, and business and manufacturing employment increased by around 60,000 workers each.

The March jobs report comes after Biden’s next action step in his economic agenda—a $2.5 trillion infrastructure package, otherwise known as the American Jobs Plan. In his proposal, President Biden plans to spend the amount to restore and expand bridges and roads, expand Internet access, build more reasonably priced housing, and make the United States more resilient to climate change. The objective of this proposal is to ensure the increase of the country’s long-run economic productivity.

According to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, economists predict that the U.S. will consistently add 500,000 jobs each month over the next year, totaling a little more than 6 million. Moreover, the Mortgage Bankers Association anticipates that the unemployment rate will be below 5 percent by the end of the year. While this would be remarkable progress for the United States economically, economists do not expect the U.S. to recover all the jobs lost during the pandemic until 2022.


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