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BLS Report – April 2021

Private Payrolls Rose by 742,000 in April, Unemployment Rate is Little Changed at 6.1%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education were partially offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers.

Both the unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, were little changed in April. These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).

Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff, at 2.1 million, changed little in April. This measure is down considerably from the recent high of 18.0 million in April 2020 but is 1.4 million higher than in February 2020. The number of permanent job losers, at 3.5 million, was also little changed over the month but is 2.2 million higher than in February 2020.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons decreased by 583,000 to 5.2 million in April. This decline reflected a drop in the number of people whose hours were cut due to slack work or business conditions. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons is 845,000 higher than in February 2020. 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.

INDUSTRY FOCUS

In April, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 331,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in many parts of the country. Employment in financial activities rose by 19,000 over the month, with most of the gain occurring in real estate and rental and leasing (+17,000). Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services declined by 111,000 in April and is 296,000 lower than in February 2020. Manufacturing employment edged down in April (-18,000), following gains in the previous 2 months (+54,000 in March and +35,000 in February). Retail trade employment changed little in April (-15,000), following a gain in the prior month (+33,000). Employment in health care changed little in April (-4,000), as a job gain in ambulatory health care services (+21,000) was largely offset by a job loss in nursing care facilities (-19,000). Health care employment is down by 542,000 since February 2020. Employment in construction was unchanged over the month.

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics, THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — April 2021
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