Mixed News Continues for Labor Market in April Jobs Report

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s (BLS) April jobs report today continues to show mixed signs for the jobs market. While the economy added 115,000 jobs last month – little change in March, the employment rate fell again to 8.1% (from last month’s 8.2%). However, the unemployment decline was attributable to 342,000 American workers dropping out of the labor force. While the jobless rate has fallen from a high of 9.1 percent since last August, hiring slow downs and a lower rate of jobs growth have economists questioning if the path to recovery has stalled. Today, 12.5 million Americans still remain unemployed, little change from last month, according to the Department of Labor. And of the 8.8 million Americans who have lost their job due to the recession, only 3.7 million have regained employment.

The demographics of unemployed worker remain consistent with last month. Adult women and men still show the lowest rates of unemployment (7.5 and 7.4 percent, respectively), while Asians showed a gain in employment – 5.2 percent for April from 6.2 percent in March. Minority groups, including blacks (13.0 percent) and Hispanics (10.3 percent) still show higher unemployment rates, with little or no change from last month. Teenagers continue to average the highest unemployment, coming in at approximately 25 percent. Similar to March, April numbers saw the professional and business services sectors showing gains (62,000). And counter to last month, the retail trade sector showed an increase of 29,000 jobs – due to gains in building material and garden supply stores; trending with the seasonal timeframe. The healthcare sector continues to show month over month growth, adding 19,000 jobs in April. Similarly, leisure and hospitality showed similar gains to the prior months (adding 20,000 jobs). Manufacturing (16,000) also showed some gains; while transportation and warehousing were several sectors that declined.

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