U.S. Unemployment Slips to 5.4% in April

WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. The unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a percentage point from the month before, to 5.4% in April from 5.5% in March.

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of people unemployed were down by 0.8 of a percentage point and 1.1 million, respectively.

Incorporating the revisions for February and March, which reduced nonfarm employment by 39,000, on net, monthly job gains have averaged 191,000 over the past 3 months,” said Erica Groshen, BLS commissioner. “In the 12 months prior to April, employment growth averaged 257,000 per month.”

Professional and business services added 62,000 jobs and health care and construction each added 45,000 jobs in April, while mining employment – which includes oil and gas extraction – declined by 15,000 positions.

The Associated General Contractors of America hailed gains in construction — 45,000 jobs in April and 280,000 over the past year — but noted that growth in the sector has been both erratic and inconsistent.

“Construction employment resumed strong growth in April after slipping in March and is now growing at more than double the growth rate for total nonfarm employment,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, job growth remains spotty with the nonresidential building sector losing jobs even as other construction sectors expanded.”

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