By Danny Dougherty and Eric Morath 

Hiring increased in 49 states across the country in March, with large states such as California, Texas and New York adding the most jobs.

Employers in leisure and hospitality, including at restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues, accelerated hiring across the U.S. That allowed some of the hardest-hit states, such as Hawaii, to see strong job growth last month.

"Better health conditions and expanding reopenings will strengthen and widen the breadth of state labor market recoveries," said Oren Klachkin, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. "Fiscal stimulus will promote positive labor market dynamics through the health crisis' final stages."

States that had relatively fewer pandemic-related restrictions, are less densely populated or have fewer tourism-related jobs tended to have more resilient labor markets in the past year. Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont all tied for the nation's lowest unemployment rate, 2.9% each in March.

Those states lost a smaller share of jobs during the pandemic, but job growth last month was slower than in California and New York, according to the Labor Department.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate was 6% in March. The Labor Department's report with state-level details is released about two weeks after the national report.

Write to Eric Morath at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 16, 2021 12:18 ET (16:18 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.