With an increase in vaccination against Covid-19, easing of restrictions and people being prompted to get back to their pre-pandemic activities, there was a surge in new hiring in the United States economy in the month of March.
Reopening of restaurants, bars, construction sites and schools helped the US economy to add more than 900,000 jobs in March. This growth in employment numbers was the highest since August last year which helped to bring down the unemployment rate to 6 per cent from 6.2 per cent in February.
On the overall however, the rate of unemployment is still far higher than the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.
With respect to taking precautions against coronavirus, people must still remain vigilant, said US President Joe Biden on Friday. While there are still millions of Americans who still are not vaccinated, there are also many parts of the US economy that are still weak because of continued closures, he said.
“I plead with you, don’t give back the progress we’ve all fought so hard to achieve,” Biden said. “We need to finish this job. We need every American to buckle down and keep their guard up”.
“That’s how we’re going to beat the virus and cast off the weight of the pandemic that’s holding our economy back.”
The widespread lockdowns resulting from the pandemic last spring resulted in the loss of more than 20 million jobs in the US. The US Labor Department said that while the economy has managed to regain more than half of the lost jobs, the total number of jobs in the country is still lower by 8 million when compared to the figures of February 2020 – prior to the pandemic hitting the country and the world.
Trillions of dollars in recovery aid have been approved by the US government in response to the pandemic related crisis which includes a $1.9tn package approved last month that contained $1,400 stimulus cheques for many Americans, extended unemployment benefits, and funded the re-opening of schools.
According to analysts, then US economy will see a strong rebound later this year with families emerging from lockdowns with pent-up demand and, in many cases, with large savings having been made during the pandemic.
The rate of growth for the economy for 2021 could be as high as 6 per cent, according to some estimates. Near full employment could return next year, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said.
“The better than expected 916,000 rebound in non-farm payrolls in March still leaves employment 8.4 million below its pre-pandemic peak from just over a year ago, but with the vaccination program likely to reach critical mass within the next couple of months and the next round of fiscal stimulus providing a big boost, there is finally real light at the end of the tunnel,” said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics.
New jobs have been added in almost all the sectors of the economy in March, showed data from, the jobs report.
(Adapted from BBC.com)