Economy Adds 290,000 Jobs In April, But Unemployment Rises To 9.9%

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy added 290,000 non-farm jobs in April, but the nation’s unemployment rate still edged up to 9.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

The increase in the unemployment rate is attributed to people who had stopped looking for work re-entering the job marked.

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Job gains occurred in manufacturing, professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Federal government employment also rose, reflecting continued hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010.

In April, the number of unemployed persons was 15.3 million, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent. The rate had been 9.7 percent for the first 3 months of this year.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites (9.0 percent) edged up in April, while the rates for adult men (10.1 percent), adult women (8.2 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.5 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up over the month, reaching 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.

In April, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 290,000. Sizable employment gains occurred in manufacturing, professional and business services, health care, and in leisure and hospitality. Federal government employment increased due to the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. Since December, nonfarm payroll employment has expanded by 573,000, with 483,000 jobs added in the private sector. The vast majority of job growth occurred during the last 2 months.

Manufacturing added 44,000 jobs in April. Since December, factory employment has risen by 101,000. Over the month, gains occurred in several durable goods industries, including fabricated metals (9,000) and machinery (7,000). Employment also grew in nondurable goods manufacturing (14,000).

Mining added 7,000 jobs in April, with most of the increase in support activities for mining. Since last October, mining has added 39,000 jobs.

In April, construction employment edged up (14,000), following an increase of 26,000 in March. Over the month, nonresidential building and heavy construction added 9,000 jobs each.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 80,000 in April. Temporary help services continued to add jobs (26,000); employment in this industry has increased by 330,000 since September 2009. Employment also rose over the month in services to buildings and dwellings (23,000) and in computer systems design (7,000).

In April, health care employment grew by 20,000, including a gain of 6,000 in hospitals. Over the past year, health care employment has increased by 244,000.

Employment rose by 45,000 in leisure and hospitality over the month. Much of this increase occurred in accommodation and food services, which added 29,000 jobs. Food services employment has risen by 84,000 over the past 4 months, while accommodation has added 18,000 jobs over the past 3 months.

Federal government employment was up in April, reflecting the hiring of 66,000 temporary workers for the decennial census.

Over the month, employment changed little in wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and financial activities.

Employment in transportation and warehousing fell by 20,000 in April, reflecting a large decline in courier and messenger services.

In April, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.1 hours. The manufacturing workweek for all employees increased by 0.2 hour for the second straight month to 40.1 hours, and factory overtime was up by 0.1 hour over the month. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.4 hours in April.

Average hourly earnings of all employees in the private nonfarm sector increased by 1 cent to $22.47 in April. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.6 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $18.96.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from -14,000 to +39,000, and the change for March was revised from 162,000 to 230,000.

In April, the civilian labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point to 65.2 percent, as the size of the labor force rose by 805,000. Since December, the participation rate has increased by 0.6 percentage point. The employment-population ratio rose to 58.8 percent over the month and has increased by 0.6 percentage point since December.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged at 9.2 million in April. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in April, compared with 2.1 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in April, up by 457,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.


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