April Unemployment Rate is 8.2%, but Overall Disappointing

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The unemployment rate declined from 8.3% to 8.2% but only ½ as many jobs (120,000) were created in March as in previous months. Furthermore, the size of the labor force decreased by 164,000 persons, which reversed a trend over the last few months wherein it increased by almost ½ million.

The unemployment rate among racial groups did not change much, but teenage unemployment increased notable, from 23.8% to 25.0%. The largest gain in jobs occurred in leisure and hospitality (39,000) and the biggest decline occurred in retail (33,800).

It will take another month or two to determine whether what occurred in March is a trend, which indicates that the economy is slowing, or whether it is an aberration.

The report suggests that the economy is still struggling to gain a solid footing in the recovery.

 Breakdown of the figures:

  •  The unemployment rate declined from 8.3% to 8.2%. That is the good news.
  •  The bad news is that there were only 120,000 jobs created last month, one-half of what was created during the last several months.
  •  Most troubling was the size of the labor force decreased by 164,000 persons, after increasing by almost ½ million in previous months.
  •  The decrease in the size of the labor force probably accounts for why the unemployment rate decreased from 8.3% to 8.2%.

 There is also an indication that something may be off with the numbers statistically. That is, the labor force decreased by 164,000 persons. This should be reflected in an increase in the number of discouraged workers. However, the number of discouraged workers also decreased by -141,000. This indicates next month, there will probably be a large statistical correction to the report somewhere.

Unemployment Change by Race

  • White Unemployment remained the same at 7.3%
  • Black unemployment decreased from 14.1% to 14.0% (an insignificant change)
  • Latino unemployment decreased from 10.7% to 10.3%.

Notably, teenage unemployment increased notably from 23.8% to 25.0%.

 Where the jobs were created:

  •  Leisure and Hospitality 39,000
  •  Manufacturing, 37,000
  •  Health Care, 26,100

 Where jobs were lost:

  • Retail Trade, -33,800
  • Temporary Help, -7,500
  • Construction, -7,000

Last modified: June 20, 2017

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