Economic Snapshot March 2021

The economic recovery speeds up

Robert Spendlove and Drew Maggelet Mar 19, 2021

United States

As vaccines increase and case counts drop, job gains have begun to pick up. The U.S. gained 379,000 jobs in February, the most jobs added since October. The unemployment rate also improved slightly to 6.2% while the labor force participation rate remained unchanged. Outside of the massive addition of leisure and hospitality jobs, industry employment growth was mixed month over month, with leisure and hospitality (+355,000); professional and business services (+63,000); and trade, transportation and utilities (+49,000) adding the most jobs. Government (-86,000); construction (-50,000); and natural resources and mining (-8,000) sectors lost the most jobs month to month. This month’s job growth beat all expectations and indicates an economy well on its way to a full recovery.



As COVID-19 cases peaked, employment in Utah took a step back. In January, the Beehive State lost 0.5% of all jobs year over year, with most job losses coming in resource- and tourism-dependent counties. Despite year over year job losses, the unemployment rate continued to decrease, declining 0.2% to 3.1% in January. Utah lost 7,700 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+9,900); trade, transportation, and utilities (+8,100); and financial activities (+4,100) sectors gaining the most jobs. Leisure and hospitality (-12,400); government (-11,400); and education and health services (-7,600) lost the most jobs year over year. Annual housing price growth continues to accelerate, rising from 12.6% in December to 13.3% in January – the highest rate of annual housing price growth since the housing bubble of the late 2000s.



Idaho’s economic recovery continues to gain steam. Not only was it the only state to grow year over year, Idaho grew at a faster rate in January 2021 than it did in December 2020. Gem State unemployment continues to improve as well, dropping from 3.8% in December to 3.4% in January. Unfortunately, the labor force participation rate declined to 63.1% in January – the lowest point since August 2020. Idaho gained 8,300 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation and utilities (+5,900); construction (+4,700); and financial activities (+2,500) sectors gaining the most jobs. Other services (-1,700); education and health services (-1,400); and leisure and hospitality (-1,400) lost the most jobs year over year. In January, Idaho’s annual housing price growth led the nation once again, hitting an all-time high of 18.8%.


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