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Weekly economic review & outlook March job gains were hot, hot, hot

April 05, 2021

You Need to Know

Week in review

A jump in hiring during March with more likely on the way

Payroll gains were much stronger than expected as fading COVID restrictions and more seasonable weather boosted activity across most sectors.

Manufacturing sector on a roll in 2021

The ISM manufacturing index climbed to its highest level since the early 1980s during March, driven by strong demand for manufactured goods.

Week Ahead

Forecasts

The ISM services index set for a rebound

A return to normal weather, an improving labor market, and continued easing of COVID restrictions should result in a strong gain in the ISM services index.

Job openings expected to show more evidence of an improving labor market

Job openings are projected to rise to seven million for the first time since the onset of the pandemic last spring, adding more evidence of a strengthening economy and labor market.

Nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 for March, far surpassing expectations and the strongest increase since last August. Job gains were widespread but there was a clear boost from reduced government-imposed COVID restrictions (another 280,000 spike in leisure and hospitality jobs) and the return of in-person schooling (total education jobs up 190,000). A rebound from the frigid and frozen February weather also led to a jump in construction employment as builders ramp up for expected strong spring and summer sales. Including upward revisions to previous months, the economy added a strong 1.62 million jobs over the first quarter.

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