U.S. adds 428,000 jobs in April, unemployment rate unchanged

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Job  growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.

The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 36,000, from +750,000 to +714,000, and the change for March was revised down by 3,000, from +431,000 to +428,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 39,000 lower than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent in April, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 5.9 million.

These measures are little different from their values in February 2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively), prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (10.2 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.1 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers remained at 1.4 million in April, and the number of persons on temporary layoff was little changed at 853,000. These measures are little different from their values in February 2020.

In April, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.5 million.

This measure is 362,000 higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 25.2 percent of all unemployed persons in April.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0 percent, were little changed over the month. These measures are each 1.2 percentage points below their February 2020 values.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 4.0 million in April and is down by 357,000 from its February 2020 level.

These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.9 million in April. This measure is above its February 2020 level of 5.0 million.

These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force increased by 262,000 in April to 1.6 million.

These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 456,000 in April, little different from the prior month.

Household Survey Supplemental Data

In April, 7.7 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 10.0 percent in the prior month.

These data refer to employed persons who teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey specifically because of the pandemic.

In April, 1.7 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic–that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey due to the pandemic.

This measure is down from 2.5 million in the previous month. Among those who reported in April that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 19.0 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked, little different from the prior month.

Among those not in the labor force in April, 586,000 persons were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, down from 874,000 in the prior month. To be counted as unemployed, by definition, individuals must be either actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.

These supplemental data come from questions added to the household survey beginning in May 2020 to help gauge the effects of the pandemic on the labor market.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 428,000 in April. Job gains were widespread, with the largest gains occurring in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

However, nonfarm employment is down by 1.2 million, or 0.8 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 78,000 in April. Job growth continued in food services and drinking places (+44,000) and accommodation (+22,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.4 million, or 8.5 percent, since February 2020.

Manufacturing added 55,000 jobs in April. Employment in durable goods rose by 31,000, with gains in transportation equipment (+14,000) and machinery (+7,000).

Nondurable goods added 24,000 jobs, with job growth in food manufacturing (+8,000) and plastics and rubber products (+6,000). Since February 2020, manufacturing employment is down by 56,000, or 0.4 percent.

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 52,000 in April. Within the industry, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+17,000), couriers and messengers (+15,000), truck transportation (+13,000), and air transportation (+4,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing is 674,000 above its February 2020 level, led by strong  growth in warehousing and storage (+467,000) and in couriers and messengers (+259,000).

In April, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+41,000). Since February 2020, employment in the industry is up by 738,000.

Financial activities added 35,000 jobs in April, led by a gain in insurance carriers and related activities (+20,000). Employment also rose in nondepository credit intermediation (+6,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000). Employment in financial activities is 71,000 higher than in February 2020.

Health care employment rose by 34,000 in April, reflecting a gain in ambulatory health care services (+28,000). Employment in health care is down by 250,000, or 1.5 percent, since February 2020.

Employment in retail trade increased by 29,000 in April. Job gains in food and beverage stores (+24,000) and general merchandise stores (+12,000) were partially offset by losses in building material and garden supply stores (-16,000) and health and personal care stores (-9,000). Retail trade employment is 284,000 above its level in February 2020.

In April, wholesale trade employment rose by 22,000. Employment in the industry is down by 57,000, or 1.0 percent, since February 2020.

Mining added 9,000 jobs in April, with a gain in oil and gas extraction (+5,000). Mining employment is 73,000 higher than a recent low in February 2021.

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including construction, information, other services, and government.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $31.85 in April. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.5 percent.

In April, average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 10 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $27.12.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.6 hours in April.

In manufacturing, the average workweek for all employees fell by 0.2 hour to 40.5 hours, and overtime held at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.1 hours.

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