BLS Employment Situation Report: April 2013

The United States economy added 165,000 new jobs in
April, as the unemployment rate dropped again to a new
post-recession low of 7.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. The job growth exceeded analysts’ expectations
that the economy would add approximately 140,000 jobs during the
time period. Further, jobs figures have been revised sharply up for
February and March by a combined 114,000. February’s adjusted total
now stands at 332,000 new positions added – the largest
one-month increase since May 2010. March’s employment numbers were
revised up to 138,000, 50,000 more than originally reported.

The strongest performing industries in April included business
and professional services, restaurants, retail trade and
healthcare, which added 165,000, 38,000, 29,000 and 19,000 jobs,
respectively. The public sector was the largest drag on national
employment, as federal, state and local governments cut 11,000
jobs in April as the effects of the sequester continued to be

Educational attainment remained an important factor for
employment prospects. The unemployment rate among those who only
had a high school degree was 7.4 percent, whereas workers with some
college or an associate’s degree had a rate of only 6.4
percent. Employees with a bachelor’s degree fared the best,
with unemployment rates almost half the national average at 3.9

Fewer workers dropped out of the labor market during April, as
opposed to the previous month when the 0.1 percent drop in the
unemployment rate was largely attributed to discouraged
workers – those who are available to work but who have
stopped looking for work because they believe there are no
positions available for them. They do not count toward unemployment
figures because, like other potential workers who are marginally
attached to the labor force, they have not sought employment during
the last four weeks. There were 2.3 million marginally attached
workers in April, 835,000 of which were classified as
discouraged. Though the marginal attachment rate was almost
unchanged year-to-year, the number of discouraged workers declined
by 133,000 from the previous April. The remaining marginally
attached individuals had discontinued their job
search for reasons such as school attendance or family

Though the numbers are widely regarded as a positive sign
and fears of a spring slow-down have been relieved, finding
full-time work remains difficult for many in the workforce. The
number of people classified as involuntary part-time workers
increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million nationwide. Involuntary
part-time workers are those who cannot find full-time work or who
have had their hours cut down. The process to replace jobs
lost during the Great Recessions remains gradual, as the economy
lost 8.6 million positions during the economic downturn, 6.2
million of which have returned.

However, the stronger than expected jobs numbers in April,
combined with the drastic upward revisions in February and
March, indicate that the economy is recovering and beginning
to gain steam. The recovery is particularly evident for workers
with a four year degree, as their unemployment rates continue
to come in 3.5 percent below the national average.