As Q1 has come to a close, it’s time to look at how the job market is shaping up for the start of Q2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides regular reports on employment data and other economic indicators that employers use everywhere to make informed decisions.
Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy through interest-rate hikes, hiring continued to accelerate in April, with 253,000 jobs added – 88,000 more than in March. This development pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in 54 years, at 3.4%. However, it was still short of the average monthly gain of 290,000 over the past six months. Moreover, there are signs that the labor market is returning to pre-pandemic norms, illustrated by declining job openings and labor force participation returning to March 2020 levels.
Search Solution Group has broken down the latest economic analysis for April’s month-over-month changes in employment statistics based on the current job market fluctuations. The information below provides insights into the current state of the economy and gives hope to job seekers looking for opportunities in a recovering job market.
Change in Employment Rate
The household survey highlights include the unemployment rate, which remained close to unchanged from the previous month, moving from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent in April. In addition, compared to April of 2022, which had an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, a lot has stayed the same over the year.
Household Survey Data
The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.6% in April as well, staying consistent with its pace since before the pandemic. The employment-population ratio has also held constant from the previous month at 60.4%.
As far as earnings, average weekly hours remained unchanged as well, staying at an average of 34.3 hours per week, while the average hourly earnings increased slightly, averaging $33.36 compared to March, which held at $33.20 per hour.
Total nonfarm employment increased by 253,000 in April, compared to an average monthly gain of about 290,000 over the past 6 months. However, despite this statistic, this rate jumped significantly from last month, with a growth of 88,000 additional jobs from March to April. Employment continues to trend upward in several different industries: professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance.
Professional & Business Services added a total of 43,000 jobs this month, which was a huge jump from the previous 6 months’ average of an added 25,000 jobs per month. In detail, professional, scientific, and technical services added 45,000 jobs just by themselves.
Health Care employment increased by 40,000 in April, compared to the average monthly gain of 47,000 over the past 6 months. Highlights of the healthcare field include an added 24,000 jobs in ambulatory healthcare services, an added 9,000 in nursing and residential facilities, and an added 7,000 in hospitals.
Leisure and Hospitality continued its trend upward in April, increasing by 31,000 jobs. This increase was mainly due to a 25,000 jump in food services and drinking places. While the field increased a good amount from the previous month, the industry’s monthly average over the past 6 months has been an added 73,000 jobs.
Social Assistance added a total of 25,000 jobs, which is in line with the prior six months’ average of 21,000 added positions. This month, individual and family services contributed the most to that number, adding 21,000 of those total jobs to the industry.
Employment was mostly the same over the month in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and other services.
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