On April 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics announced that nonfarm payroll for March 2021 rose to 916,000. They also reported that unemployment rates fell to 6.0%, with the most significant changes occurring in states with eased pandemic restrictions. To return to pre-pandemic levels, U.S. employers would have to add about 1 million new jobs each month for the rest of 2021.

Temporary Layoffs

The number of people on temporary layoff fell to 2.0 million. It reached its highest level in April 2020 when 18.0 million people were temporarily laid off. By comparison, that number is still 1.3 million higher than in February 2020.

Permanent Job Loss

Approximately 3.4 million people reported permanent job loss in March 2021. That number is about the same as a month earlier, but it is 2.1 million people higher than in February 2020.

The number of people reporting that they had been unemployed for more than 27 weeks stood at 4.2 million. While that number changed little from February 2021, it is up 3.1 million from February 2020.

Hospitality and Leisure

Almost 66% of the new jobs created were in the hospitality and leisure sector, with jobs in food and drinking establishments showing the most significant increase. Additionally, positions in arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodations all saw increases.


Despite white-hot real estate conditions in Texas and many other locations, the number of jobs available in construction rose only 110,000 during the month. In February, the construction sector reported 58,000 fewer jobs than in January 2021. There are still 182,000 fewer jobs than in February 2020.

While this report was better than anticipated by many experts, the job market in the U.S. has a long way to go to meet levels seen before the pandemic started.