The unemployment rate rose to 6.0 percent in April, and nonfarm payroll employment
edged down by 48,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department
of Labor reported Friday. In April, job losses continued in manufacturing, some
travel-related industries, and department stores.
The number of unemployed persons increased to 8.8 million in April, and the
unemployment rate rose from 5.8 to 6.0 percent. The unemployment rate has ranged
from 5.6 to 6.0 percent since November 2001.
In April, 4.8 million persons were working part time even though they would
have preferred a full-time schedule. The number of such workers increased by
about 600,000 over the year. In April, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached
to the labor force, the same as a year earlier. These individuals wanted and
were available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.
They were not counted as unemployed, however, because they did not actively
search for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. There were 437,000 discouraged
workers in April, up from 320,000 in April 2002. Discouraged workers, a subset
of the marginally attached, were not currently looking for work specifically
because they believed no jobs were available for them.
Total employment, as measured by the household survey, edged up to 137.7 million
in April; the employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 62.4
percent. The civilian labor force increased by 680,000 over the month to 146.5
million, after seasonal adjustment. The labor force participation rate rose
by 0.2 percentage point to 66.4 percent, 0.7 percentage point below the rate
at the start of the recession.
Manufacturing job losses totaled 95,000 in April, more than twice the average
monthly decline for the prior 12 months (-40,000).
Several travel-related industries continued to lose jobs in April. Employment
in amusement and recreation services and in hotels decreased by 41,000 and 20,000,
respectively, on a seasonally adjusted basis.