U.S. hiring surges by 916,000 jobs in March

The official U.S. jobs numbers for March are out and they point to an economic recovery that took a major leap forward last month.

916,000 new jobs were created in March, the biggest one-month surge in hiring since August.

That number was way better than expected and nearly double February's upwardly revised hiring figure, according to data released Friday (April 2) by the Labor Department.

With so many Americans going back to work, that drove down the closely-watched unemployment rate.

The jobless rate in March fell to 6 percent, a crisis-era low.

Employers were increasingly confident last month as more Americans got vaccinated and the government doled out additional economic relief money, marking what economists believe could be the start of the strongest economic upswing in decades.

Hiring was seen across the board - all industries added jobs - and was able to absorb the many Americans willing to go back to work.

For the second month in a row, the biggest surge in employment came from the the leisure and hospitality sector, as local economies relaxed health crisis restrictions that began a year ago. Restaurants and bars accounted for nearly two-thirds of that industry's employment gains.

There was also a bounce-back in construction jobs after harsh winter weather in February depressed hiring in that sector.

Payrolls for local governments saw an uptick as more schools reopened for in-person learning.

But even with March's solid job growth, the labor market recovery still has a long way to go:

There are still 8.4 million jobs that have disappeared during the health crisis.