May 5, 2017

April 2017 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 4.4 percent

Jobs Created: 211,000

Employment and Unemployment

  1. The Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent for April, down 0.1 percent from last month. Today’s unemployment rate is the lowest since May 2007. 

  2. Today’s jobs report shows an increase of 211,000 nonfarm jobs in April, higher than analysts’ prediction of job growth of 188,000. Employment for February was revised up from 219,000 to 232,000 jobs created; and March was revised down from 98,000 to 79,000.

  3. Unemployment in April among those ages 16-19 was 14.7 percent, up from 13.7 percent last month. For people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from March. For African-Americans, the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the prior month.

  4. The number of long-term unemployed, those unemployed for 27 weeks or more, was 1.6 million, down from 1.7 million last month. They account for 22.6 percent of the unemployed, down from 23.3 percent in the prior month.

  5. The “real” unemployment or U-6 rate is 8.6 percent, down 0.3 percent from last month and the lowest level in nine years. This is the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers. 

  6. The “real” number of unemployed Americans is 13.9 million. These are people who are unemployed (7.1 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (1.5 million), or are working part time because they cannot find full-time employment (5.3 million).  

  7. In April, employment grew by 55,000 in leisure and hospitality; 39,000 in professional and business services; 20,000 in health care; and 9,000 in mining. Employment in information fell by 7,000 jobs last month. Government grew by 17,000 jobs last month, credited to a loss of 6,000 jobs at the federal level, and 23,000 new jobs at the local government level. 

  8. Following its May 2-3 meeting, the Federal Reserve issued a statement stating: “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen even as growth in economic activity slowed. Job gains were solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate declined … Inflation measured on a 12-month basis recently has been running close to the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective … The Committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory and continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term.”

  9. The Federal Reserve voted unanimously to maintain interest rates at its May meeting, following a rate increase in March, which was its third rate increase since June 2006.

  10. The Federal Reserve next meets June 13-14.    

Labor Force Participation

  1. The labor force participation rate is 62.9 percent, down from 63.0 percent last month and remaining near its lowest level in 38 years. 

  2. The labor force participation rate remains concerning as many workers stay on the sidelines. Since October 2013, the participation rate has largely been stuck in a narrow range of 62.5 to 63 percent. Prior to the recession, the rate was 66 percent. 

  3. The share of American adults with jobs in April was 60.2 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from last month. This is nearly 4 percentage points below its pre-recession peak. 

  4. As the Wall Street Journal notes this morning: “To support better economic growth, especially when productivity gains have been weak, employers need to draw more workers into the labor force. That could become a challenge because the share of Americans working or seeking work has generally declined the past 15 years, in part reflecting the aging of the U.S. population.”  


  1. In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents to $26.19, following a 5 cent increase in March. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. 

Issue Tag: Labor