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NEW YORK - U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in March, spurred by increased vaccinations and more pandemic relief money from the government, cementing expectations that an economic boom was underway.
Nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was be the biggest gain since last August. Data for February was revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 647,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0% last month from 6.2% in February.
Story Labor Dept release
STOCKS: The U.S. stock market is closed for Good Friday. S&P e-mini futures extended gains and were up 0.43%.
BONDS: Yields on benchmark 10-year notes rose to 1.7072%. Two-year Treasury yields rose to 0.1782%
FOREX: The dollar index firmed and was up 0.16%
PATRICK LEARY, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, HEAD OF TRADING, INCAPITAL, MINNEAPOLIS
"The big thing is that the market was looking for this... Most market participants were looking for a number in this zone.
"It doesn't change the narrative and that's why you're not seeing a giant reaction from markets. It was largely priced in.
"The data is good, that's true. However, what that also means is that we maybe won't need to do as much stimulus or we won't need to be as accommodative for as long, things are going to recover quicker. Sometimes it's one of those things where good news is bad news and bad news is good news.
"Service sector numbers were a big component of this report. In fact if you look at the report here and you look at the average hourly earnings, hourly earnings actually ticked down... And that's because you're bringing lower wage workers into the report. That's good news, it's the part of the economy we've been waiting to recover."
RUSSELL PRICE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES INC, TROY, MICHIGAN
“This is the first of what is likely to be several very strong jobs reports over the next few months.
“When you include the upward revisions for January and February, the true gain in total employment was over 1 million, 1.07 million to be exact. The jobs gained in leisure and hospitality in March were not as strong as we expected, so that leaves further upside to be had, which also contributes to a very good outlook for the next few months.
"As bars, restaurants, theaters, casinos, sports and music venues, it's all those things that people have been denied over the last year that they are itching to get back out and enjoy as restrictions are lifted and people feel safe. Through February it accounted for 43% of the jobs that were still missing out of the private sector. So that is where businesses are going to reopen, people are going to be clamoring to try to take advantage of those activities once again. So they're going have to hire at a very strong rate over the next several months.