April 2023 Employment Summary

  • On May 11, 2023

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Job seekers enjoyed the Easter holiday and warmer weather, as well as the potential job opportunities the month brought. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 253,000 in April, while the unemployment rate changed little at 3.4% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs decreased by 307,000 for the month. The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks decreased by 406,000 and the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, changed little over the month and accounted for 20.6% of the total unemployed.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.6%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4%, were unchanged in April. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons, at 3.9 million, was little changed as well. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job increased by 346,000 over the month, but were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job. 

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force increased by 191,000 to 1.5 million in April. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was little changed over the month at 364,000.

In April, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance. Professional and business services increased by 43,000 jobs. Over the prior 6 months, the average monthly gain in the industry was 25,000. Professional, scientific, and technical services added 45,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services continued to trend down over the month (-23,000) and is down by 174,000 since its peak in March 2022. Health care increased by 40,000, compared with the average monthly gain of 47,000 over the prior 6 months. Ambulatory health care services increase by 24,000, nursing and residential care facilities by 9,000, and hospitals by 7,000.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in April (+31,000), largely in food services and drinking places (+25,000). Leisure and hospitality had added an average of 73,000 jobs per month over the prior 6 months. Social assistance added 25,000 jobs, in line with the average monthly gain of 21,000 over the prior 6 months. Individual and family services added 21,000 jobs over the month. Financial activities increased by 23,000, with gains in insurance carriers and related activities (+15,000) and in real estate (+9,000).  Government employment continued its upward trend (+23,000) and has added an average of 52,000 jobs per month over the prior 6 months. 

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction rose by 6,000 in April and has risen by 102,000 since a recent low in February 2021. Nearly all of the April job gain occurred in support activities for mining. Employment was little changed over the month in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and other services.

In April, the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 16 cents, or 0.5%, to $33.36. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4%. The average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents, or 0.4%, to $28.62. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, the average workweek was little changed at 40.2 hours, and overtime remained at 2.9 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours. 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 78,000, from +326,000 to +248,000, and the change for March was revised down by 71,000, from +236,000 to +165,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 149,000 lower than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

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