U.S. Unemployment Rate In April Drops To 3.6%

Employees in an office
U.S. Unemployment Rate In April Drops To 3.6%

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — APRIL 2019

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the
unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in professional
and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The
household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment,
by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm
employment, hours, and earnings by industry. For more information about
the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two surveys, see
the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.6 percent in
April, the lowest rate since December 1969. Over the month, the number
of unemployed persons decreased by 387,000 to 5.8 million. (See table
A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined in April
for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), Whites (3.1
percent), Asians (2.2 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent). The jobless
rates for teenagers (13.0 percent) and Blacks (6.7 percent) showed little
or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed
temporary jobs declined by 186,000 over the month to 2.7 million. (See
table A-11.)

In April, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by
222,000 to 1.9 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless
for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in April and
accounted for 21.1 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to
62.8 percent in April but was unchanged from a year earlier. The employment-
population ratio was unchanged at 60.6 percent in April and has been either
60.6 percent or 60.7 percent since October 2018. (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 4.7
million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or
because they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In April, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
little different from a year earlier. (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 454,000 discouraged workers in
April, about unchanged from a year earlier. (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 963,000 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 263,000 in April, compared with
an average monthly gain of 213,000 over the prior 12 months. In April, notable
jobs gains occurred in professional and business services, construction,
health care, and social assistance. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 76,000 jobs in April. Within the
industry, employment gains occurred in administrative and support services
(+53,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+14,000). Over
the past 12 months, professional and business services has added 535,000 jobs.

In April, construction employment rose by 33,000, with gains in nonresidential
specialty trade contractors (+22,000) and in heavy and civil engineering
construction (+10,000). Construction has added 256,000 jobs over the past 12
months.
 
Employment in health care grew by 27,000 in April and 404,000 over the past
12 months. In April, job growth occurred in ambulatory health care services
(+17,000), hospitals (+8,000), and community care facilities for the elderly
(+7,000).

Social assistance added 26,000 jobs over the month, with all of the gain in
individual and family services.

Financial activities employment continued to trend up in April (+12,000). The
industry has added 110,000 jobs over the past 12 months, with almost three-
fourths of the growth in real estate and rental and leasing.

Manufacturing employment changed little for the third month in a row (+4,000
in April). In the 12 months prior to February, the industry had added an
average of 22,000 jobs per month.

Employment in retail trade changed little in April (-12,000). Job losses
occurred in general merchandise stores (-9,000), while motor vehicle and
parts dealers added 8,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade,
transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and
government, showed little change over the month.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.77. Over the year, average hourly earnings
have increased by 3.2 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector
production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $23.31 in
April. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased
by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, both the workweek and
overtime were unchanged (40.7 hours and 3.4 hours, respectively). The average
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm
payrolls held at 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up
from +33,000 to +56,000, and the change for March was revised down from
+196,000 to +189,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and
March combined were 16,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions
result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies
since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal
factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 169,000 per month over the
last 3 months.