The federal government released its latest jobs report Friday, showing U.S. businesses added 428,000 jobs in April, despite surging inflation, with gains widespread across many industries, led by leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and warehouse and transportation businesses.
The national unemployment rate, which shows the number of Americans without jobs who are looking for work, was unchanged during April at 3.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report.
However, the overall size of the U.S. workforce declined in April by 363,000, reducing the labor force participation from 62.4% to 62.2%. Businesses continue to be challenged by the slow return of workers who left the labor force during the COVID-19 pandemic and have remained on the sidelines.
The leisure and hospitality industry led the employment gains made during April, increasing by 78,000. There were 44,000 jobs added in restaurants and bars and 22,000 added in hotels and other businesses providing travel accommodations. Nevertheless, employment in the leisure and hospitality industry is still down by 1.4 million, or 8.5% compared to February 2020 before the pandemic started.
Manufacturing added 55,000 jobs in April. Since February 2020, manufacturing employment is down by 56,000, or 0.4%.
Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 52,000 in April. Within the industry, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+17,000), couriers and messengers (+15,000), truck transportation (+13,000), and air transportation (+4,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing is 674,000 above its February 2020 level.
In April, employment in professional and business services continued to trend upward (+41,000). Since February 2020, employment in the industry is up by 738,000. Financial activities added 35,000 jobs in April, led by a gain in insurance carriers and related activities (+20,000). Employment also rose in non-depository credit intermediation (+6,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000). Employment in financial activities is 71,000 higher than in February 2020.
Healthcare employment rose by 34,000 in April, reflecting a gain in ambulatory healthcare services (+28,000). However, overall employment in the healthcare industry is still down by 250,000, or 1.5% since February 2020.
Employment in retail trade increased by 29,000 in April. Job gains in food and beverage stores (+24,000) and general merchandise stores (+12,000) were partially offset by losses in building material and garden supply stores (-16,000) and health and personal care stores (-9,000). Retail trade employment is 284,000 above its level in February 2020.
Employment showed little change over the month of April in other major industries, including construction, information, other services, and government.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3% to $31.85 in April. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.5%. The annual inflation rate in the U.S. accelerated to 8.5% in March.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday also revised its preliminary total nonfarm payroll employment for February downward by 36,000, from 750,000 to 714,000. March numbers were also revised downward by 3,000, from 431,000 to 428,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 39,000 lower than previously reported by BLS.