US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate fell by two tenths of a percent in April, to 3.9 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. This is the lowest rate reported since December 2000. It was 4.4 percent a year ago in April 2017.

In April, the civilian labor force participation rate fell by one tenth of a percent for the second consecutive month, to 62.8 percent. The participation rate has remained fairly steady since October of 2013.

The employment-population ratio also fell by one tenth of a percent in April, 60.3 percent. After a consistent increase since July 2011, the overall the employment-population ratio seems to have levelled out since the beginning of 2017.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree again fell by one tenth of a percent to 2.1 percent in April.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 164,000 in April. The payroll employment numbers for both February and March 2018 were adjusted. Total employment gains for those months are now 30,000 more than previously reported. Considering these revisions, payroll employment gains have averaged 208,000 over the last three months.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in April, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months. In April, job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.

In April, employment in professional and business services increased by 54,000. Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 518,000 jobs.

Employment in manufacturing increased by 24,000 in April. Most of the gain was in the durable goods component, with machinery adding 8,000 jobs and employment in fabricated metal products continuing to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing employment has risen by 245,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the growth in durable goods industries.

Health care added 24,000 jobs in April and 305,000 jobs over the year. In April, employment rose in ambulatory health care services (+17,000) and hospitals (+8,000).

In April, employment in mining increased by 8,000, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+7,000). Since a recent low in October 2016, employment in mining has risen by 86,000.

Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 41.1 hours, while overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.7 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.84. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 67 cents, or 2.6 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $22.51 in April.