This morning the BLS reported employment rose by 290,000 in April, surpassing economists’ predictions of 185,000. Since December, nonfarm payroll employment has expanded by 573,000, with 483,000 jobs added in the private sector.
In an additional bit of good news, the BLS revised the numbers from February and March: February was revised from -14,000 to +39,000, and the change for March was revised from +162,000 to +230,000.
While the unemployment rate did edge up to 9.9 percent, it’s important to understand why. Workers who had dropped out of the labor force because of fewer jobs available, are now encouraged by the recent months’ employment growth and are re-entering the labor force. Among the unemployed, the number of reentrants to the labor force rose by 195,000 over the month.
But we still have a way to go in the jobs recovery. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and longer) hit 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (those working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job) was about unchanged at 9.2 million.
Many industry sectors added jobs in April. Here’s how they fared:
- Manufacturing: 44,000
- Temporary help services: 26,000
- Health care: 20,100
- Construction: 14,000
- Retail: 12,400
- Mining: 7,000
- Computer systems design: 7,000
- Federal government: 66,000 (mostly temporary workers for the decennial census)
How do you feel about this latest news? Are you encouraged?