The Employment Situation — April 2014 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Better employment news for the US:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains were widespread, led by job growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.

Household Survey Data

In April, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, decreased by 733,000. Both measures had shown little movement over the prior 4 months. Over the year, the
unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.2 percentage points and 1.9 million, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates declined in April for adult men (5.9 percent), adult women (5.7 percent), teenagers (19.1 percent), whites (5.3 percent), blacks (11.6 percent), and Hispanics (7.3 percent). The jobless rate for Asians was 5.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed over the year. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In April, the number of unemployed reentrants and new entrants declined by 417,000 and 126,000, respectively. (Reentrants are persons who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search, and new entrants are persons who have never worked.) The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs decreased by 253,000 to 5.2 million. (See table A-11.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 287,000 in April to 3.5 million; these individuals accounted for 35.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 908,000. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April, following an increase of 503,000 in March. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April. The participation rate has shown no clear trend in recent months and currently is the same as it was this past October. The employment-population ratio showed no change over the month (58.9 percent) and has changed little over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.5 million in April. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In April, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down slightly from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 783,000 discouraged workers in April, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in April. Job growth had averaged 190,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In April, employment growth was widespread, led by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 75,000 jobs in April. Employment in this industry had increased by an average of 55,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In April, employment growth continued in temporary help services (+24,000), in management of companies and enterprises (+12,000), and in computer systems design and related services (+9,000).

Retail trade employment rose by 35,000 in April. Over the past 12 months, employment in this industry has grown by 327,000. Within retail trade, job growth over the month occurred in food and beverage stores (+9,000), general merchandise stores (+8,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+6,000), and nonstore retailers (+4,000). Electronics and appliance stores lost 11,000 jobs in April. Wholesale trade added 16,000 jobs over the month and has added 126,000 jobs over the year.

In April, employment rose in food services and drinking places (+33,000), about in line with its prior 12-month average gain of 28,000 per month.

In April, employment in construction grew by 32,000, with job growth in heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000) and residential building (+7,000). Construction has added 189,000 jobs over the past year, with almost three-fourths of the gain occurring in the past 6 months.

Health care employment increased by 19,000 in April, about in line with the prior 12-month average gain of 17,000 per month. Employment in other services, which includes membership associations and personal and laundry services, rose by 15,000 over the month.

Mining added 10,000 jobs in April, with most of the gain in support activities for mining (+7,000).

Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.2 hour in April to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls were unchanged at $24.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.9 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 3 cents to $20.50. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from +197,000 to +222,000, and the change for March was revised from +192,000 to +203,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March were 36,000 higher than previously reported.


The Employment Situation for May is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 6, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Employment Situation Summary.

Will it be sustainable though? Also, wage rates are still severely depressed.


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