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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.

Mike Allen, author of AM
12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Ohio upset's '22 clues

Shontel Brown campaigns with Rep. James Clyburn in Cleveland on July 31. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

An upset in Ohio on Tuesday night is giving moderate, Biden-aligned Democrats momentum vs. the party's vocal left ahead of next year's midterms.

Driving the news: In a special primary for U.S. House in the Cleveland area, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown pulled out a surprise victory for the Democratic establishment in Cleveland.

1 hour ago - Health

New York City revives vaccine passports

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New York City yesterday became the first city in the U.S. to require proof of coronavirus vaccination for indoor dining and other leisure activities, a measure popular among public health experts but previously squashed by political backlash to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Employers and now local governments are starting to ensure that remaining unvaccinated will have consequences for everyday life, testing the resolve of those who say nothing could persuade them to get a shot.

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