The April Employment Situation

April non-farm jobs rose by 290 thousand, greater than the consensus estimate of 200 thousand.  This was an improvement over 230 thousand in March and 39 thousand in February, which were revised up from original press releases.  At this rate of job improvement, year-on-year job growth will become positive in July, a welcome event indeed.

The labor force rose by 805 thousand persons in April, contributing to an increase of the unemployment rate from 9.7 in March to April’s 9.9 percent.  The seasonally-adjusted annualized quarter-on-quarter job growth rate increased from 2.1 to 2.7 percent and the April year-on-year job growth rate was a smaller decline than March, a 1.0 percent decline versus a 1.7 percent decline.

The number of persons who were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, the long-term unemployed, increased from 6.7 million people in March to 7 million people in April.  The average duration of unemployment jumped from 31.2 weeks in March to 33 weeks in April. 

The increase in labor force is an interesting phenomenon given that the level of jobs is still lower than last year.  There could be a number of explanations for this including increased optimism as some analysts have mentioned.  While it is good to have increased labor supply, jobs are a matchup of employer and employee, so if the unemployment rate is going to subside, firms will need to pick up their rate of hiring.

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