Is that all there is? Nonfarm employers added 115,000 jobs in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday in its closely-watched employment report. This fell far below analysts’ more optimistic forecasts of about 170,000 jobs.
About 12.5 million people are unemployed, with an unprecedented 88.4 million people considered to be “not in the labor force,” the BLS reports. When all the numbers are crunched, the total employment level in April dropped 169,000 as the level of Americans actively looking for work or otherwise employed dropped to its lowest level since December 1981, 63.6 percent (from 63.8 percent).
The number of those who have been jobless for 27 weeks and over, who make up 41.3 percent of the unemployed, was little changed at 5.1 million. The number of persons working part-time because their hours have been cut back or because they are unable to find full-time employment was at 7.9 million in April, little changed from the previous month.
Not counted as unemployed were the 2.4 million people who were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the past year. They are not counted because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the BLS survey.
There were 968,000 “discouraged workers” last month, about the same as a year earlier. These are persons not currently looking for work becase they do not believe any jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not looked for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as family responsibilities.
Employment in professional business services increased by 62,000 last month. This industry has grown by 1.5 million since a recent low point in September 2009, the BLS reports. Employment gains were also reported in retail (29,000) general merchandise stores (21,000), health care (19,000), and food services and drinking establishments (20,000). Since February 2010, the latter category has added 576,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment added 16,000 jobs in April, and has added 489,000 jobs since January 2010.
This is the second consecutive disappointing labor market, adding to unease about the pace of the economic recovery. ButBLS did revise upward by 53,000 the number of jobs added in February and March.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.