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US Notes 263K New Jobs Verses 190K Expected

May 3, 2019

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

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.

 

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.6 percent in April, the lowest rate since December 1969. Over the month, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 387,000 to 5.8 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined in April for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), Whites (3.1percent), Asians (2.2 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent). The jobless rates for teenagers (13.0 percent) and Blacks (6.7 percent) showed little or no change.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 186,000 over the month to 2.7 million.

In April, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by 222,000 to 1.9 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in April and accounted for 21.1 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April but was unchanged from a year earlier. The employment- population ratio was unchanged at 60.6 percent in April and has been either 60.6 percent or 60.7 percent since October 2018.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 4.7 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

In April, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (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 454,000 discouraged workers in April, about unchanged from a year earlier. (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 963,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, compared with an average monthly gain of 213,000 over the prior 12 months. In April, notable jobs gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

Professional and business services added 76,000 jobs in April. Within the industry, employment gains occurred in administrative and support services (+53,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+14,000). Over the past 12 months, professional and business services has added 535,000 jobs.

In April, construction employment rose by 33,000, with gains in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+22,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000). Construction has added 256,000 jobs over the past 12
months.

Employment in health care grew by 27,000 in April and 404,000 over the past 12 months. In April, job growth occurred in ambulatory health care services (+17,000), hospitals (+8,000), and community care facilities for the elderly (+7,000).

Social assistance added 26,000 jobs over the month, with all of the gain in individual and family services.

Financial activities employment continued to trend up in April (+12,000). The industry has added 110,000 jobs over the past 12 months, with almost three- fourths of the growth in real estate and rental and leasing.

Manufacturing employment changed little for the third month in a row (+4,000 in April). In the 12 months prior to February, the industry had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

Employment in retail trade changed little in April (-12,000). Job losses occurred in general merchandise stores (-9,000), while motor vehicle and parts dealers added 8,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.77. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $23.31 in April.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, both the workweek and overtime were unchanged (40.7 hours and 3.4 hours, respectively). The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 33.7 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up from +33,000 to +56,000, and the change for March was revised down from +196,000 to +189,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 16,000 more 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.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 169,000 per month over the
last 3 months.

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