Economy Gains 263,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Declines to 3.6%

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:

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.