Home » U.S. adds 175,000 jobs; unemployment holds at 3.9%

U.S. adds 175,000 jobs; unemployment holds at 3.9%

Rate has been 3.7-3.9% since August 2023

WASHINGTON — Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in April, and the unemployment rate changed little at 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care, in social assistance, 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.

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 3.9 percent, and the number of unemployed people, at 6.5 million, changed little in April. The unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range of 3.7% to 3.9% since August 2023.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (3.6%) increased in April. The rate for Blacks (5.6%) decreased, offsetting an increase in the prior month. The jobless rates for adult women (3.5%), teenagers (11.7%), Whites (3.5%), Asians (2.8%), and Hispanics (4.8%) showed little change over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.3 million, was essentially unchanged in April. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.6% of all unemployed people.

The labor force participation rate held at 62.7% in April, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at 60.2%. These measures have shown little change over the year.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.5 million, changed little in April. 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.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in April, lower than the average monthly gain of 242,000 over the prior 12 months. In April, job gains occurred in health care, in social assistance, and in transportation and warehousing.

Health care added 56,000 jobs in April, in line with the average monthly gain of 63,000 over the prior 12 months. In April, employment continued to increase in ambulatory health care services (+33,000), hospitals (+14,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000).

Employment in social assistance increased by 31,000 in April, led by a gain in individual and family services (+23,000). Social assistance had added an average of 21,000 jobs per month  over the prior 12 months.

In April, transportation and warehousing added 22,000 jobs, with gains in couriers and messengers (+8,000) and warehousing and storage (+8,000). Over the prior 12 months, employment in transportation and warehousing had shown little net change.

Employment in retail trade continued to trend up in April (+20,000). Over the prior 12 months, the industry had added an average of 7,000 jobs per month. In April, employment increased in general merchandise retailers (+10,000), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+7,000), and health and personal care retailers (+5,000). Electronics and appliance retailers lost 3,000 jobs.

Construction employment changed little in April (+9,000), following an increase of 40,000 in March. Over the prior 12 months, construction had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

Employment in government changed little in April (+8,000). Over the prior 12 months, government had added an average of 55,000 jobs per month. In April, local government employment was  unchanged, following an increase of 51,000 in March.

Employment was little changed over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; information; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; and other services.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents, or 0.2%, to $34.75. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.9%. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $29.83.

In April, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 34.3 hours. In manufacturing, the average workweek was unchanged at 40.0 hours, and overtime was also unchanged at 2.9 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 34,000, from +270,000 to +236,000, and the change for March was revised up by 12,000, from +303,000 to +315,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 22,000 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.

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