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President Biden at his first Cabinet meeting yesterday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The U.S. economy added a whopping 916,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6% from 6.2%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The blowout job gains show how vaccines and the economic reopening are juicing the battered labor market. Economists had been expecting an increase of 675,000.

  • It comes after the economy added 379,000 jobs in February, far outpacing expectations.
  • President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on March 11, which is expected to add another boost to the recovery.
Expand chart
Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: March's jobs report marked the biggest hiring spree since last summer.

Plus: Job gains in both January and February were even higher (+156,000) than previously reported.

Details: The leisure and hospitality sector (think restaurants, bars, etc.) was the standout with 280,000 new jobs added. But there were broad gains across other industries — construction, manufacturing — too.

  • The unemployment rate for workers without a high school degree dropped from 10.1% to 8.2% — a sharp decline.
  • It also dropped for all racial and ethnic groups, except Asian Americans. Their unemployment rate jumped by nearly a full percentage point.

What to watch: Whether the millions of workers out of the labor force come off the sidelines.

  • Roughly 347,000 came back last month — but there are still 3.8 million fewer people in the labor force compared to the beginning of last year.

The bottom line: These numbers show there's still more than enough slack in the labor market to support extremely strong jobs growth through the rest of 2021 and beyond.

  • Employment gains slowed down at the end of 2020, but there’s no reason they can’t pick back up again with gusto.

Go deeper

The staying power of the stay-at-home economy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic proved a large swath of the population can produce services and consume goods without leaving their homes — if supported by other workers.

Why it matters: We risk becoming an even more divided society — with Peloton-riding, Amazon Prime-ordering office workers living within a convenient, luxurious stay-at-home economy and essential workers servicing that lifestyle while scraping by themselves.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

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