The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on May 5th, 2023, that the total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 253,000 in April, indicating a slower gain than the previous six months' average. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.4 percent, while the number of unemployed persons remained the same at 5.7 million.
The concern at the Federal Reserve remains how rising rates will slow the economy. The Fed continues to raise rates in an effort to curb inflation, and they are beginning to see cracks in the system, especially in the regional banking sector.
Despite the slow growth in job gains, some sectors saw a continued increase in employment, including professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance.
The household survey showed that the unemployment rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), teenagers (9.2 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), Blacks (4.7 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.4 percent) remained unchanged in April. Additionally, the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio remained at 62.6 percent and 60.4 percent, respectively, which are below their pre-pandemic levels.
The establishment survey revealed that professional and business services saw an increase in employment by 43,000, and health care saw an increase of 40,000 jobs. Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up, with a gain of 31,000 jobs, but the industry remains 2.4 percent below its pre-pandemic level. Social assistance added 25,000 jobs, while financial activities and government employment increased by 23,000 and 23,000 jobs, respectively.
The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons was little changed in April, while the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job increased by 346,000 over the month to 5.3 million.
Overall, the data suggests that the job market continues to recover slowly, with some industries seeing steady growth while others remain below their pre-pandemic levels.
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