The U.S. economy gained 263,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined slightly to 3.6%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued lower levels of job growth provide good reason for the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee to express caution in considering any interest rate hikes.
In response to the April job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:
Though the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% the share of Americans holding a job remained steady. Labor force participation fell 0.2%. The number employed fell, pointing to a very mixed picture for workers. #JobsReport @AFLCIO #1u— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
After a rough three months, the Black unemployment rate stabilized at 6.7%, unchanged from March; while the employment to population ratio edged up for men and women @CBTU72 @APRI_National @AFLCIO #1u— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
Unemployment rate for LatinX fell from 4.7 to 4.2% but shows the bigger trend, drop in the number employed, drop in labor force participation, drop in the employment-to-population ratio. #JobsReport @AFLCIO @Marietmora— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
Drop in labor force participation was most noticeable for those workers who have some college or an associate's degree. Says something interesting about weak wage growth in the middle. #JobsReport @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/jktY625FGa— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
Another reason the jobs report may be more mixed for workers than the low unemployment rate shows, the rising share of unemployed workers who are long term unemployed. #JobsReport It stabilizes after rising in February and March, but higher than last April @AFLCIO #1u pic.twitter.com/DKpvCTiXy9— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
More understanding on the drop in labor force participation: women who were unemployed in March were more likely to drop out of the labor force in and give up looking in April than to get employed. #JobsReport @AFLCIO @CLUWNational @IWPResearch pic.twitter.com/qT2OsARViR— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
Employment in food services was up 25,000, so now 12.18 million Americans work in this industry compared to 12.8 million in all of manufacturing. This is why the #RaiseTheWage Act is so important. #JobsReport @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
In straight numbers, why the @BLS_gov #JobsReport was mixed for workers: The number of workers in the labor force fell 490,000, the number employed fell 103,000 and the share employed in April was flat with the March rate @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/7MWYQZG95O— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
The drop in labor force participation in April and the recent trend in the share of long term unemployment among the unemployed make the @BLS_gov #JobsReport mixed for American workers, the household survey and payroll report diverge @AFLCIO #1u pic.twitter.com/BgjvCSSQNR— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
Retail trade stood out as the big loser in April, losing 12,000 jobs, and remaining below last year's employment. Troubled waters in retail have been highlighted by @EileenAppelbaum pointing to heavy leveraging by private equity firms. @UFCW @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/XoSxHtOHK7— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 3, 2019
Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and business services (76,000), construction (33,000), health care (27,000), social assistance (26,000), financial activities (12,000) and manufacturing (4,000). Employment in retail trade (-12,000) declined in April. Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates fell for and Hispanics (4.2%), adult men (3.4%), adult women (3.1%), whites (3.1%) and Asians (2.2%). The jobless rate increased for teenagers (13.0%). The jobless rate for blacks (6.7%) showed little change in April.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in April and accounted for 21.1% of the unemployed.