Job Growth Picks Up, Unemployment Rate Dips Further in April

Washington — May 2

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000 and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Employment gains were widespread, led by job growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and construction.

In April, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, decreased by 733,000. Both measures had shown little movement over the prior four months. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.2 percentage points and 1.9 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates declined in April for adult men (5.9 percent), adult women (5.7 percent), teenagers (19.1 percent), whites (5.3 percent), blacks (11.6 percent) and Hispanics (7.3 percent). The jobless rate for Asians was 5.7 percent, little changed over the year.

In April, the number of unemployed reentrants and new entrants declined by 417,000 and 126,000, respectively. Reentrants are persons who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search, and new entrants are persons who have never worked.

The number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — declined by 287,000 in April to 3.5 million. These individuals accounted for 35.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 908,000.

The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April, following an increase of 503,000 in March. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April. The participation rate has shown no clear trend in recent months and currently is the same as it was this past October. The employment-population ratio showed no change over the month (58.9 percent) and has changed little over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons — sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers — was little changed at 7.5 million in April. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics