(CN) — Employers added 211,000 jobs in April, pushing the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent — its lowest level in a decade — from 4.5 percent in March.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that the job gains were seen in a wide variety of industries including Job gains occurred leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining.
The figures suggest that businesses expect consumer demand to rebound after a lackluster first quarter, when Americans increased spending at the slowest pace in seven years, and will need more employees.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said, “This steady and sustained increase in job creation equals new paychecks for American workers and income for American families.
“Nonetheless, we have challenges ahead as we continue to focus on job growth, on bridging the skills gap and on expanding opportunity for all Americans. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to policies that lead to continued job growth, workforce development and increased opportunities,” Acosta said.
The number of unemployed people stands at 7.1 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point, and the number of unemployed has fallen by 854,000, the bureau said.
The unemployment rate for adult men declined to 4.0 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult women (4.1 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (5.2 percent) showed little change
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged
at 1.6 million in April and accounted for 22.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of
long-term unemployed was down by 433,000, the government said.
In an encouraging trend, the number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs fell in April to the lowest level in nine years. This population, which the Labor Department calls “involuntary part-time workers” declined by 281,000 to 5.3 million in April.
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons
involuntarily employed part time fhas decreased by 698,000.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.
In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $26.19. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $21.96.
The report adds to evidence that economic growth is rebounding in the current April-June quarter, with some economists forecasting that it could top a 3 percent annual rate, compared with the first quarter’s 0.7 percent rate.