The $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed last month by President Joe Biden should give an additional shot of adrenaline to hiring amid renewed support for businesses and individuals.
Labor Department Secretary Marty Walsh called the jobs report "very encouraging," in an interview on Bloomberg Television. But he said, "we still have a long way to go."
In addition, the sweeping infrastructure plan that Mr. Biden unveiled Wednesday will help to "reinvigorate labor" and the economy in the future, Mr. Walsh said.
A report Thursday from the National Federation of Independent Business showed a record share of small-business owners in March said they had unfilled positions. That indicates employment will remain strong in coming months.
Further, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has pledged the central bank will continue to support the economy with accommodative monetary policy, despite the recent uptrend in economic and employment data. Even with the sharp advance in March, payrolls remained 8.4 million below the pre-pandemic peak of about 152.5 million.
"The recovery is far from complete," Mr. Powell said at a March 23 House Financial Services Committee hearing. "As we have emphasized throughout the pandemic, the path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus."
The U-6 rate, also known as the underemployment rate, declined to 10.7% from 11.1%. It is often thought of as a more inclusive measure of unemployment than the headline figure because it also accounts for those who stopped looking for a job because they were discouraged about their prospects and those working part-time but desiring a full workweek.
The participation rate, which is the share of the population that is either working or actively looking for work, improved to 61.5% last month from 61.4%. The so-called prime-age participation rate, or the participation rate among those ages 25-54, climbed as more women returned to the workforce.
The report also showed the average workweek increased by 18 minutes to 34.9 hours, partly reflecting a bounce back from severe winter weather a month earlier.