WASHINGTON (AP) —America’s employers unleashed a burst of hiring in March, adding 916,000 jobs.
The boost in jobs is a sign that a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession is taking hold as vaccinations accelerate, stimulus checks flow through the economy and businesses increasingly reopen.
The March increase — the most since August — was nearly double February’s gain of 468,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate declined from 6.2% to 6%.
President Joe Biden highlighted the encouraging jobs report during a speech delivered Friday morning, saying it’s bringing new hope to the country. However, he also warned that the U.S. still has a long way to go in its recovery.
“While the earliest signs from this job report announced today are promising and the American Rescue Plan are starting to make a real difference, today’s report also reminds us how deep of a hole we started in. After a year of devastation, there are still 8.4 million fewer jobs today than there were last March,” said Biden.
The president said the report also reflects the progress his administration has made in vaccinated the public against COVID-19.
“We’ve turned around a slow-moving vaccination program into being the envy of the world,” said Biden. “Yesterday, we set an all-time record for Thursday vaccinations, ending a 7-day period that was the first ever where we administered 20 million shots in 7 days. That’s 20 million shots in a week. No other country has come close to that.”
Biden also warned that the progress the U.S. has achieved can be reversed.
“As fast as we’re moving, more adults remain to be vaccinated in April, May and June than have already been vaccinated in Feb. and March. We’re not even halfway done yet. Too many Americans are acting as if this fight is over. It’s not,” said Biden.
Biden spoke about the rising cases of COVID-19 in some parts of the U.S. and asked Americans to keep taking the necessary measures to stop the spread of the virus.
“We need to finish this job,” he said. “We need every American in buckle down and keep their guard up in this home stretch. Wear your mask, keep a safe distance from one another, wash your hands, get vaccinated when it’s your turn. That’s how we’re going to beat the virus.”
“So, the bottom line is this, today’s report is good news. The report shows what our country can do when we act together to fight the virus, to give working people the help they need. But we still have a long way to go, but I know we’re going to get there and we’re going to get there together.”
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Payroll employment rises by 916,000 in March; unemployment rate edges down to 6.0% https://t.co/1Y9cSWJUIB #JobsReport #BLSdata— BLS-Labor Statistics (@BLS_gov) April 2, 2021