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You are Here: Home > Blog > Unemployment Rate – April 2017

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Unemployment Rate – April 2017

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

The April unemployment ticked down a notch to its lowest level in a decade. Job growth was impressive after poor job growth last month.

According to the most recent monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the private sector netted 194,000 nonfarm job gains in April. Local, state and federal governments gained 17,000 jobs, resulting in 211,000 total net job gains. There were only 79,000 total net job gains last month, after BLS revisions.

Professional and business services (39,000), leisure and hospitality (55,000), health care (37,000), financial activities (19,000), and mining (9,000) experienced the most-significant job gains in April (job gains shown in parenthesis). Other major industries showed little change.

The unemployment rate in April dropped from 4.5 to 4.4 percent, its lowest since May 2007 when it was also 4.4 percent.

The average hourly wage for all private-sector employees showed a solid monthly gain, rising by 7 cents to $26.19 following a 5-cent increase last month. The average hourly wage increased by 6 cents to $21.96 for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, after a 4-cent increase last month.

The BLS revised job gains for February 2017 and March 2017, showing that the economy netted 6,000 fewer jobs than the BLS had previously estimated for the two months. Net job gains have averaged 174,000 per month in the past three months.

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Unemployment Rate 2016-2017
Unemployment Rate Chart 2016 to 2017

The unemployment rate in April dropped to its lowest level in a decade, mostly because the BLS counted fewer unemployed workers (as they did in March). The number of workers that the BLS counted as unemployed was 7.1 million, down from 7.2 million in March.

The count of unemployed workers does not include those who are involuntarily working only part time and with fewer benefits, if any, such as no health insurance, because they can’t find full-time jobs or employers cut their work hours. The number of involuntarily part-timers in April was 5.3 million, down by 281,000 from March.

The average workweek for all part-timers and full-timers in the private sector increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April.

The unemployment rate also does not include “marginally-attached” unemployed workers. The BLS does not count them in the official rate because they stopped looking for work in the four weeks preceding the count, for reasons such as school attendance, family matters or their collective perception that there simply are no jobs — at least not for them.

The number of marginally-attached workers in April was 1.5 million, down from 1.6 million in March. Among the marginally-attached, 455,000 were so-called “discouraged workers” because they gave up looking for work due to their shared perception that there are no jobs. That was down by 5,000 from March. (The BLS does not seasonally adjust any of the figures in this paragraph.)

The number of long-term unemployed workers, those who have been without jobs for 27 weeks or longer, was 1.6 million in April, down from 1.7 million in March. These workers accounted for 22.6 percent of unemployed workers. Standard state unemployment benefits last only up to 26 weeks without extensions.

If you are a recent victim of a job loss or a reduction in work hours, then you might be eligible to collect full or partial unemployment benefits from the state unemployment office. You might also be eligible to continue your employer-provided group health insurance coverage through COBRA.

For more details about the April 2017 unemployment rate and job numbers, see the “Employment Situation Summary” by the BLS. The BLS plans to report the May 2017 unemployment rate and job numbers on Friday, June 2. To receive notification like the above automatically, subscribe to Employee Rights Blog for free.

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Except where otherwise noted, figures in this unemployment rate report were rounded and/or seasonally adjusted by the BLS, and are subject to revision by same (based on additional data that was not initially available). The unemployment rate chart pictured above was provided by the BLS.

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