USA | May 19, 2022

US unemployment rate stable at 3.6% in April

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Non-farm payroll employment increased by 428,000

Durrant Pate/Contributor

The unemployment rate in the United States was stable last month at 3.6 per cent, which represents 5.9 million persons being out of a job. 

In April, total non-farm payroll employment increased by 428,000.

These latest numbers showed little difference from February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when the unemployment rate was 3.5 per cent and some 5.7 million Americans being out of a job.

The 428,000 job growth for April was spread across various industries with leading gains in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing. However, non-farm employment is down by 1.2 million or 0.8 per cebt, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Furthermore, among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women declined to 3.2 per cent in April. The jobless rates for adult men was 3.5 per cent, teenagers at 10.2 per cent, Whites at 3.2 per cent, Blacks accounting for 5.9 per cent, Hispanics at 4.1 per cent and Asians at 3.1 per cent, which all showed little change over the month.

Permanent job losers was unchanged

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers was unchanged at 1.5 million persons in April after a 191,000 decline in March 2022 level of 1.4 million person. The US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that the number of persons on temporary layoff was little changed over the month at 853,000.

FILE PHOTO: People line up outside a career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, U.S. (File Photo: REUTERS/Amira Karaoud)

Additionally, the long-term unemployed accounted for 25.2 per cent of all unemployed persons in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) is 362,000 higher than February 2020.

The number of persons on temporary layoff was at 853,000 in April. The labour force participation rate for April 2022 stood at 62.2 per cent, while the employment-population ratio also stood at 60.0 per cent.

The number of persons not in the labour force, who currently want a job changed little to 5.9 million in April. This was above the February 2020 level of 5.0 million. A total of 1.6 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force.

Of the marginally attached, 456,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in April. According to the BEA, “in April, 1.7 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic–that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the four weeks preceding the survey due to the pandemic.”

This is down from 2.5 million in the previous month. Among those who reported in April that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business,19.0 per cent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked, little different from the prior month.

Preference for full time employment

Nonetheless, persons employed part-time for economic reasons stood at 4.0 million in April, down by 357,000 from its February 2020 level. Based on BLS assessment, “these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.”

A job posting looking for workers is shown at a gas station in San Diego, California, U.S. November, 9, 2021. (File Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 428,000 in April but is down by 1.2 million, or eight per cent, from pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Job growth averaged 562,000 per month in the first quarter of 2022.

In April, Manufacturing services added 55,000 jobs in April. Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in April (+78,000). Retail trade added 29,000 over the month.

Additionally, employment in social assistance added 25,000 and construction added 19,000. Other sectors such as health care (+34,000), Financial activities (+35,000), and professional and business services  (+41,000) added to total employment.

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 52,000, wholesale trade and mining went up 22,000 and 9,000, respectively. Also, there was little changed shown in information, construction and other services, and government.


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