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More Than 100,000 Construction Workers Hired in March

Labor + Trade Relations

More Than 100,000 Construction Workers Hired in March

April 5, 2021
Home builder building a house
Photo: Lisa F. Young

The construction industry welcomed 110,100 new workers in March alone as the country’s unemployment rate dropped to 6%. Overall, total payroll employment increased by 916,000 in March. The National Association of Home Builders says this improvement can be attributed to more states easing restrictions and increased vaccinations. The bulk of the construction jobs came from the nonresidential construction sector with just 37,000 coming from residential construction. But still, only 64% of nonresidential construction jobs have been recovered from the beginning of the pandemic. This is the largest gain in employment since August 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In March, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 916,000, reported in the Employment Situation Summary. It marks the third consecutive gain after a decline of 306,000 jobs in December and the largest gain since August 2020. The previous two months’ gains were revised higher. The January increase was revised up by 67,000, while the February increase was revised up from 379,000 to 468,000.

The economy lost 22.7 million jobs in March, April and December of 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past eleven months, 14.3 million jobs have been recovered, however, total nonfarm employment in March is still 6% lower than its February 2020 level, a year ago.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged down to 6.0% in March. It was 8.8 percentage points lower than its recent high of 14.8% in April and 1.6 percentage points higher than the rate in March 2020. The labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, inched up to 61.5% in March.

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