Industry News | May 8, 2009

The Latest Employment Numbers

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Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in April, dropping 539,000 jobs. During that time the unemployment rate rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have been lost. In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private-sector employment fell by 611,000.

The number of unemployed persons increased by 563,000 to 13.7 million in April. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 6.0 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 3.9 percentage points.

Unemployment rates rose in April for adult men (9.4 percent) and blacks (15 percent). The jobless rates for adult women (7.1 percent), teenagers (21.5 percent), whites (8 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 6.6 percent in April, not seasonally adjusted, up from 3.2 percent a year earlier.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 571,000 in April to 8.8 million. This group has more than doubled in size over the past 12 months.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 498,000 to 3.7 million over the month and has risen by 2.4 million since the start of the recession in December 2007.

The civilian labor force participation rate rose in April to 65.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 59.9 percent. The employment-population ratios for adult men and women showed little or no change over the month. However, since December 2007, the men's ratio was down by 4.4 percentage points, while the women's ratio was down by 1.3 percentage points.

In April, the number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.9 million; however, the number of such workers has risen by 3.7 million over the past 12 months.

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