March 2022 jobs report shows solid gains: live updates

credit…Gaby Jones for The New York Times

The steady influx of consumer demand, combined with an emerging atmosphere of normalcy as the coronavirus burden and health restrictions fade, led to a flurry of new jobs last month, giving rise to optimism despite the precarious economic outlook for this year.

The Labor Department said Friday that US employers added 431,000 jobs in March, beating expectations and keeping pace with average gains. In recent months. The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent the previous month and just above its levels just before the pandemic. Job opportunities and the number of workers leaving their positions voluntarily remain near record levels, among the measures showing demand for workers is the highest in decades.

“It’s all about virus, virus, virus – and the hold of the virus on the American psyche appears to have loosened and we may be moving toward the idea that the ‘Covid era’ of the American economy is over,” said Austin Goolsby. . D., a professor at the University of Chicago and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama.

More office workers in urban areas appear to be turning to their desks, giving a boost to hard-hit downtown economies, and a drop in coronavirus cases has prompted many people to resume tourism and personal entertainment.

The economy has regained more than 90 percent of the 22 million jobs it lost at the height of the pandemic’s impact on the economy in the spring of 2020 — a much faster recovery than forecasters initially expected.

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But while business growth, wage growth and higher spending point to a solid recovery, price increases are casting a dark shadow. Inflation, the highest in decades, is being exacerbated by international events: the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sent commodity prices soaring, and the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in supply centers in Asia.

“For consumers, most of whom are either workers or dependent on so-called livelihoods, the state of the labor market provides a strong foundation for family finance,” said Mark Hamrick, chief economist at financial website Bankrate.com. “These families themselves are being tested by inflation, which will flash further into the red with upcoming readings, exacerbated by the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” which effectively acts as a savings tax, which has improved for many during the pandemic.

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