Nonfarm payroll employment grew by 253,000 jobs in April, after adding 165,000 jobs in March (downward revision), according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The six-month average gain is now 290,000 jobs.
Modest growth led by professional and business services
Most of the job gains over the month were in professional and business services (+43,000), and the industry has gained an average of 25,000 jobs per month over the last six months. April’s gains were primarily in professional, scientific, and technical services (+45,000 jobs). However temporary help services lost 23,000 jobs during the month and is 174,000 jobs below its peak in March 2022.
Other notable job gains in April included:
- Health care (+40,000)
- Leisure and hospitality (+31,000)
- Social assistance (+25,000)
- Financial activities (+23,000)
- Government (+23,000)
Other industries showed little change over the month.
“I see the overall labor market shifting a bit to an employer-driven market,” said Jason Pyle, President and Managing Director of Harvey Nash USA, “and I expect that to be the case for the coming 12 months. The exception is the real difficult-to-fill jobs and high-demand skill areas like cyber, data, and DevOps. It’s still a candidate-driven market for those roles.”
Unemployment rate inched down to 3.4%
The unemployment rate decreased from 3.5% in March to 3.4% in April, representing 5.7 million unemployed people. Staying within the range of 3.4% to 3.7%, the unemployment rate has experienced little change since March of last year.
Unemployment rates for the major worker groups either decreased slightly or were unchanged in April:
- Adult men: 3.3% (3.4% in March)
- Adult women: 3.1% (3.1% in March)
- Teenagers: 9.2% (9.8% in March)
- Black: 4.7% (5.0% in March)
- Hispanic: 4.4% (4.6% in March)
- Asian: 2.8% (2.8% in March)
- White: 3.1% (3.2% in March)
Unemployment numbers relatively unchanged
Dropping by 307,000, the number of people who completed temporary jobs totaled 2.6 million in April. The number of those who were jobless for less than 5 weeks also decreased, inching down by 406,000 to 1.9 million. Long-term unemployment (jobless for 27 weeks or more) crept up to 1.2 million, representing 20.6% of the total unemployed. The labor force participation rate remained at 62.6% percent in April.
The number of people who worked part time for economic reasons dropped slightly to 3.9 million over the month. The number of those not currently in the labor force who wanted a job increased by 346,000 to 5.3 million — within this group, there were 1.5 million people who were marginally attached to the labor force and 364,000 discouraged workers.
Average hourly earnings for private nonfarm employees continue to trend upward, rising $0.16 to $33.36 in April and bringing the 12-month average increase to 4.4%. The average workweek stayed at 34.4 hours for the month.