The unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% in April, the federal government announced May 5. The economy added 211,000 jobs last month. Expectations were for 190,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 4.5%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistic releases jobs figures for each month on the first Friday of the month that follows. The report, “Employment Situation Summary,” is among the most carefully watched by economists, the Federal Reserve, and the market.
The jobless rate peaked at 10% in October 2009 during the financial crisis. It has been below 5% for all of 2017. The economy has now added jobs for 79 consecutive months.
While the national unemployment rate of 4.4% marks nearly a full return to pre-crisis levels, unemployment in some segments of the population is far higher. For others, the rate is lower.
Among black American workers, the unemployment rate of 7.9% in April was twice as high as the rate for white workers at 3.8%.
The report also offers information on people who would like to work full-time but work part-time, as well as on those who are “marginally attached” — individuals who have not looked for a job in the last 12 months. In April, 8.6% of the workforce was considered underemployed, versus 8.9% in March.
Among other important data released in the report are jobs added and lost in major industries. Jobs were added in leisure and hospitality (55,000), health care and social assistance (37,000), financial activities (19,000), and mining (9,000) industries. Jobs were also added in the retail (6,300), construction (5,000), and government (17,000) sectors. The education sub-industry, which is part of the health care and social assistance sector added 4,000 jobs in April.
Experts regard the jobless situation as critical to consumer confidence, and an early indicator of GDP, inflation, and import and export levels. That is among the reasons the Monthly Employment Summary is so closely followed.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data released on May 5 in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report, “Employment Situation Summary.” Data by each of the breakouts listed here are published monthly by the BLS. The amount of time people have spent unemployed, average wages, and weekly hours worked, also came from the BLS.
These are the numbers behind the April jobs report.