Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite uptick, unemployment rate edged up 9% as thousands of Americans resumed job hunting.
Specifically, job gains occurred in several service-providing industries, manufacturing, and mining. Following is a breakdown of new jobs created according to sector:
Manufacturing employment rose by 29,000 in April. Since reaching an employment low in December 2009, manufacturing has added 250,000 jobs, including 141,000 in 2011. Over the month, employment growth continued in machinery (+5,000), primary metals (+4,000), and computer and electronic products (+4,000).
Mining added 11,000 jobs in April. More than half of the gain occurred in support activities for mining. Since a recent low point in October 2009, employment in mining has increased by 107,000.
Construction employment remained unchanged in April. In fact, this sector has shown little net movement since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the prior three years.
Looking at other sectors, employment in retail trade rose by 57,000. Within the industry, employment in general merchandise stores increased by 27,000, offsetting a decline of similar magnitude in the prior month. Elsewhere in retail trade, April job gains occurred in electronics and appliance stores (+6,000), building material and garden supply stores (+6,000), and automobile dealers (+5,000).
Not to be outdone, employment in professional and business services continued to expand in April, with an increase of 51,000 positions. Job gains occurred in management and technical consulting services (+11,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+8,000). Employment in temporary help services was little changed over the month, following an increase of 34,000 in March.
The health care sector added 37,000 in April. Within this sector, job gains were seen in ambulatory health care (+22,000) and hospitals (+10,000).
Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to increase in April (+46,000). Over the past three months, in fact, this industry added 151,000 jobs, with nearly two-thirds of the growth in food services and drinking places.
Finally, employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down, with April losses concentrated in the non-educational components.
Elsewhere in the service-providing sector, employment in information, financial activities, and transportation and warehousing changed little in April.
Since the low point of February 2010, total payroll employment has grown by 1.8 million, with private sector employment increasing by 2.1 million over the same period. The number of unemployed persons, at 13.7 million, changed little in
April, as the unemployment rate edged upward slightly to 9%. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons—sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers—was little changed over the month, at 8.6 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Over the short term, analysts expect the overall unemployment rate to remain high—in spite of several months of consecutive increases of 200,000-plus jobs created. The general thinking is that the economy must create at least 350,000 jobs during a given month in order to lower the unemployment rate by just 1%.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised
from +194,000 to +235,000, and the change for March was revised from
+216,000 to +221,000.
The full April unemployment report is available online.