April BLS Report: 288,000 Jobs Added, Drop In Unemployment

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Source: BLS

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its April 2014 unemployment report, which showed an overall gain of 288,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropping a sizable 0.4%, bringing the total figure down to 6.3%. This data shows a strong rebound in economic conditions from the winter slowdown. In addition, revisions to prior months showed that February added 222,000 jobs (up from 197,000), and February grew 203,000 jobs (from 192,000). With these revisions, gains in employment for those two months were actually 36,000 higher than previously reported, and job growth has averaged 190,000 new jobs per month over the last 12 months.

A number of sectors showed impressive growth in April, including healthcare (+19,000), construction (+32,000), retail trade (+35,000) and foodservices (+33,000). The professional and business services sector had the largest gain of the month (+75,000), with numerous sub-sectors showing positive gains, including management of companies and enterprises (+12,000), IT consulting and design (+9,000) and temporary services (+24,000).

Taking the revisions from the past three months, the data now shows that 238,000 jobs have been added over the last three months. This exceeds the 12 month average prior to April (190,000) by 48,000 jobs, a clear indicator that U.S. economic activity is improving.

The unemployment rate — which is now at a 5 & a 1/2 year low — dropped 0.4% down to 6.3%. While it’s always good to see this number low, one of the main reasons for the sharp decline is a parallel decline in the labor force participation rate. The civilian labor force fell by 806,000 in April — after an increase of 503,000 in March — and the labor force participation rate fell by 0.4% to 62.8% in April.

But another promising statistic is that the number of the long-term unemployed  — people who have been without a job for 27 weeks or more — dropped by 287,000 in April. This brings the total figure down to 3.5 million, which makes up for 35% of the total unemployed. In the last 12 months, long-term unemployment has fallen by 908,000.

With this strong April report and revisions having added 36,000 jobs to prior figures, is it possible that we are primed to top  300,000 jobs next month? While experts agree that this recent report is good news for the economy, most believe that the pace we’re seeing is a more likely scenario for a rate of recovery and that it might take a few more years to get back to its pre-recession health.

At Adecco, many of our clients are optimistic about hiring and have staff augmentation plans in place.

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