US Bureau of Labor Statistics

In April, the overall unemployment rate fell by two tenths of a percent to 3.6 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 3.9 percent a year ago in April 2018. April’s unemployment number marks the lowest rate since December 1969.

The civilian labor force participation rate again fell by two tenths of a percent to 62.8 percent. The participation rate has had minimal change since September of 2013.

The employment-population ratio remained unchanged at 60.6 percent. The employment-population ratio has been trending upwards since July 2011.

In April, the unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree rose by one tenth of a percent to 2.1 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 263,000 in April. The payroll employment numbers for both February and March 2019 were adjusted, resulting in gains that were 16,000 more than previously reported. Payroll employment gains have averaged 169,000 over the last three months.

Some details directly from the BLS report:

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.

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.

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.