US Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest since 1969


The US unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in April 2019 from 3.8 percent in the previous month, below market expectations of 3.8 percent. It was the lowest jobless rate since December 1969, as the number of unemployed persons went down by 387 thousand to 5.8 million while employment declined by 103 thousand to 156.6 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined in April for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), Asians (2.2 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent). The jobless rates for teenagers (13.0 percent) and Blacks (6.7 percent) showed little or no change. Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 186,000 over the month to 2.7 million.

In April, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by 222,000 to 1.9 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in April and accounted for 21.1 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April but was unchanged from a year earlier. The employment population ratio was unchanged at 60.6 percent in April and has been either 60.6 percent or 60.7 percent since October 2018. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 4.7 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. 

There were 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 454,000 discouraged workers in April, about unchanged from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 963,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

US Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest since 1969


BLS | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com
5/3/2019 12:47:15 PM