Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in several service-providing industries, manufacturing, and mining.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons, at 13.7 million, changed little in April. The unemployment rate edged up from 8.8 to 9.0 percent over the month but was 0.8 percentage point lower than in November. The labor force also was little changed in April.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.8 percent), adult women (7.9 percent), teenagers (24.9 percent), whites (8.0 percent), blacks (16.1 percent), and Hispanics (11.8 percent) showed little change in April. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.4 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks increased by 242,000 in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 283,000 to 5.8 million; their share of unemployment declined to 43.4 percent.

The civilian labor force participation rate was 64.2 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little in April.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed over the month, at 8.6 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In April, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 989,000 discouraged workers in April, a decline of 208,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 244,000 in April, and the private sector added 268,000 jobs. Employment rose in a number of service- providing industries, manufacturing, and mining. Since a recent low in February 2010, total payroll employment has grown by 1.8 million. Private sector employment has increased by 2.1 million over the same period.

In April, employment in retail trade rose by 57,000. Within the industry, employment in general merchandise stores increased by 27,000, offsetting a decline of similar magnitude in the prior month. Elsewhere in retail trade, April job gains occurred in electronics and appliance stores (+6,000), building material and garden supply stores (+6,000), and automobile dealers (+5,000).

Employment in professional and business services continued to expand in April, with an increase of 51,000. Job gains occurred in management and technical consulting services (+11,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+8,000). Employment in temporary help services was little changed over the month, following an increase of 34,000 in March.

Health care continued to add jobs in April (+37,000). Within health care, job gains continued in ambulatory health care (+22,000) and hospitals (+10,000).

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to increase in April (+46,000). Over the past 3 months, this industry added 151,000 jobs, with nearly two-thirds of the growth in food services and drinking places.

Employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down, with April losses concentrated in the non-educational components. Elsewhere in the service-providing sector, employment in information, financial activities, and transportation and warehousing changed little in April.

In the goods-producing sector of the economy, manufacturing employment rose by 29,000 in April. Since reaching an employment low in December 2009, manufacturing has added 250,000 jobs, including 141,000 in 2011. Over the month, employment growth continued in machinery (+5,000), primary metals (+4,000), and computer and electronic products (+4,000).

Mining added 11,000 jobs in April. More than half of the gain occurred in support activities for mining. Since a recent low point in October 2009, employment in mining has increased by 107,000.

Construction employment was about unchanged in April. This industry has shown little net movement since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the prior 3 years.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 34.3 hours in April. The manufacturing workweek for all employees, at 40.4 hours, also was unchanged over the month, while factory overtime increased by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged in April at 33.6 hours.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $22.95. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 1.9 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $19.37.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from +194,000 to +235,000, and the change for March was revised from +216,000 to +221,000.

The Employment Situation for May is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 3, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).