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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.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be traveling on the westbound Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle and Portland when eight cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

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