April’s unemployment report: Jobs added, but people still aren’t looking for work


This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its assessment of job growth for the month of April. The results were decent, though inadequate – the unemployment rate slightly edged down, and enough jobs were added to surpass the replacement rate.

The total number of jobs added was 165,000 – thought this is likely to change once the BLS has more time to analyze the data, with one-month and two-month revisions ahead – but one of the big pieces of good news was how the numbers of jobs added in February and March were reassessed as 64,000 and 50,000 higher, respectively. All told, 114,000 additional jobs were added in February and March, meaning those months totaled 332,000 jobs added (a great month) and 138,000 (a bad month). Those are big revisions.

Of course, as Ed Morrissey notes, the participation rate – people looking for work in addition to those who have it – is still exceedingly low:

The civilian workforce participation rate remained at a 34-year low of 63.3%. However, the number of people not in the workforce declined slightly in the Household data from March by 31,000. It’s still 632,000 higher than in February.

James Pethokoukis points out that the unemployment rate would be over 10% of everyone looking for work in January 2009 was still doing so:

Washington Journal notes this is the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008:

In short, the topline numbers are good news for politicians, as are the upward revisions from February and March. For the American people, however, the bad news is still the number of people who simply have given up hope that jobs are available. Additionally, 165,000 new jobs is only slightly above the replacement rate, meaning the recovery is still very tepid.

We still have a long way to go.