Job growth in April rose by 115,000, above the 100,000 needed to keep up with new job entrants. The unemployment rate improved a tad, from 8.2 percent in March to 8.1 percent in April, as did the number of jobless, which declined from 12.7 million in March to 12.5 million in April, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released this morning. Some 14.5 million workers remain unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work.
But as the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) points out, the one-tenth of a percent improvement in the nation’s unemployment rate is “due to people dropping out of the labor force, not an increase in the share of the working-age population with jobs. The labor force participation rate dropped to its low of the downturn, 63.6 percent.”
April’s job growth is the 26th consecutive monthly increase in private-sector jobs, but to replace the 9.9 million jobs lost since the start of the recesssion, many more jobs per month need to be created. As AFL-CIO Richard Trumka pointed out today, “Republicans in Congress have blocked President Obama’s efforts to keep propelling growth, whether it’s the American Jobs Act or routine highway infrastructure investments,” even as Republicans push catastrophic budgets that threaten our economic security and break our promises to the next generation.”
“Pursuing tried and failed economic policies is the definition of crazy – and exactly what Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and others would do. Their austerity agenda concentrates wealth in the hands of a few, starves our nation of the funds needed to invest in our future, further deepens the wealth divide and chokes off any hope of a strong recovery.”
Jobs increased in several of the same areas as in recent months, including health care (19,000 jobs), food and drinking services (20,000) and manufacturing (16,000). Job growth declined in several industries as well, including transportation and warehousing (-17,000 jobs) and ground passenger transportation (-11,000).
Unemployment for African American workers, though still high, decreased from 12.3 percent in March to 10.8 percent in April, while the jobless rate for Latino workers remained at 10.3 percent. At 24.9 percent, teen unemployment barely budged in April from 25 percent in March.