U.S. adds 266,000 jobs in April as labor market recovery slows

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WASHINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) — U.S. employers added 266,000 jobs in April, with the unemployment rate little changed at 6.1 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

This is far fewer than the Dow Jones estimates of 1 million new jobs, with some economists expecting an even stronger growth.

Job gains were notable in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education, which were partially offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers, according to the report released by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 331,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in many parts of the country, the report showed, while noting that the figure is still down by 2.8 million, or 16.8 percent, since February 2020.


Employment in local government education increased by 31,000 in April but is 611,000 lower than the pre-pandemic level.

Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services declined by 111,000 in April and is 296,000 lower than in February 2020. Business support services, meanwhile, lost 15,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment edged down by 18,000 in April, following gains in the previous two months, according to the report. Employment in manufacturing is 515,000 lower than in February 2020.

Retail trade employment dropped by 15,000 in April, following a gain of 33,000 in the prior month. Employment in retail trade overall is 400,000 lower than in February 2020.

The job growth in March was revised down by 146,000 to 770,000, while the figure for February was revised up by 68,000 to 536,000.

The unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent, was little changed in April. The measure was down considerably from its recent high in April 2020 but remained well above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent.

Despite the improvement in the pandemic-ravaged labor market, some 9.8 million people remained unemployed in April, well above the pre-pandemic level of 5.7 million, according to the report.

The labor force participation rate, meanwhile, was little changed at 61.7 percent in April, which is 1.6 percentage points lower than in February 2020.

The Federal Reserve has pledged to keep its benchmark interest rates unchanged at the record-low level of near zero, while continuing its asset purchase program at least at the current pace of 120 billion U.S. dollars per month until the economic recovery makes “substantial further progress.”

Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said Wednesday that more improvement in the U.S. labor market will be needed before the Fed’s conditions will be met for tapering its asset purchase program.