Employment and Earnings

Employment and unemployment developments, April 2005

Employment and unemployment developments, April 2005

Employment rose in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.2 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 274,000 over the month. Job growth was widespread, with gains in construction, mining, and several service-providing industries.


Both the number of unemployed persons, 7.7 million, and the unemployment rate, 5.2 percent, were unchanged in April. The jobless rate was down from 5.5 percent a year earlier. Over the month, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (17.7 percent), whites (4.4 percent), and blacks (10.4 percent) showed little or no change. After declining in March, the unemployment rate for Hispanics or Latinos increased to 6.4 percent, the same as in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 3.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-3, A-4, and A-13.)

The number of long-term unemployed–those unemployed 27 weeks and over–was about unchanged over the month. This group accounted for 21.2 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

Total employment and the labor force

Total employment grew by 598,000 in April to 14 l. 1 million, and the employment-population ratio—the proportion of the population age 16 and over with jobs–edged up to 62.6 percent. The civilian labor force increased by 605,000 in April to 148.8 million; the labor force participation rate, at 66.0 percent, also was up over the month. (See table A-3.)

Persons not in the labor force

There were 1.5 million persons who were marginally attached to the labor force in April, about the same as a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals wanted and were available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed, however, because they did not actively search for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, at 393,000 in April, declined over the year. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them. The other 1.1 million marginally attached had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-38.)

Industry payroll employment

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 274,000, seasonally adjusted, to 133.3 million in April. This followed gains of 300,000 in February and 146,000 in March (as revised). In April, notable increases occurred in several industries, including construction, mining, food services, and health care. (See table B-3.)

Within the goods-producing sector, construction employment rose by 47,000 in April, with specialty trade contractors accounting for the bulk of the growth (40,000). Heavy and civil engineering construction also added 8,000 jobs over the month. Since its most recent low in March 2003, construction industry employment has grown by 551,000.

In April, employment in mining increased by 8,000. The industry has added 31,000 jobs over the past 6 months; support activities for oil and gas operations has accounted for most of this increase.

Employment in manufacturing was little changed in April at 14.3 million, with small and offsetting movements among several of its components. Long-term employment declines continued in furniture and related products and in textile mills.

In the service-providing sector, leisure and hospitality gained 58,000 jobs in April, including 35,000 in food services and drinking places. Employment edged up in arts, entertainment, and recreation (16,000). Since its most recent low in June 2002, employment in leisure and hospitality has expanded by 823,000, with four-fifths of the gain occurring in food services.

Health care employment continued to increase in April, rising by 25,000. Over the past year, this industry has gained 240,000 jobs. In April, job growth was concentrated in offices of physicians (9,000) and hospitals (10,000).

The information industry added 12,000 jobs over the month. Within information, the motion picture and sound recording industries gained 9,000 jobs. Employment in telecommunications grew by 7,000 in April; it had shown little movement from November through March after trending down for nearly 4 years.

Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend upward in April, increasing by 18,000. Since its recent low in August 2003, this industry has gained 343,000 jobs. Financial activities employment also continued its upward trend, with a gain of 17,000 in April. Within transportation and warehousing, small employment gains in trucking, transit, and couriers were partially offset by a decline of 5,000 jobs in air transportation. Retail trade employment edged up over the month.

Weekly hours

The average workweek for production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 33.9 hours in April, seasonally adjusted. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.5 hours, while manufacturing overtime was unchanged at 4.5 hours. (See table B-8.)

The index of aggregate weekly hours of production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.9 percent in April to 102.8 (2002=100). The manufacturing index was up by 0.2 percent over the month to 93.7. (See table B-9.)

Hourly and weekly earnings

Average hourly earnings of production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents in April to $16.00, seasonally adjusted. Average weekly earnings increased by 0.9 percent over the month to $542.40. Over the year, average hourly and weekly earnings grew by 2.7 and 3.3 percent, respectively. (See table B-11.)

Scheduled Release Dates

Employment and unemployment data are scheduled

for initial release on the following dates:

Reference month Release date

May June 3

June July 8

July August 5

August September 2

September October 7

October November 4

COPYRIGHT 2005 U.S. Department of Labor

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group