(CNSNews.com) - The number of employed Americans set a third straight monthly record in April, increasing by 156,000 to 153,156,000; and the nation's unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 4.4 percent.
On the negative side, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the labor force participation rate dropped a tenth of a point in April; and the number of Americans NOT in the labor force increased for the second straight month to 94,375,000, compared with 94,213,000 in March.
The numbers are important: People who are employed have Social Security and other payroll taxes deducted from their paychecks, and those taxes help to support many other people who do not work for various reasons and who may receive taxpayer-funded entitlements or benefits.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added 211,000 jobs last month, a much stronger showing than the 98,000 jobs added in March.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up from 219,000 jobs added to +232,000; but the change for March was revised down, from a gain of 98,000 jobs to a gain of only 79,000. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 174,000, BLS said.
In April, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 254,588,000. Of those, 160,213,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.
The 160,213,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.9 percent of the 254,588,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men declined to 4.0 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult women (4.1 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (5.2 percent) showed little change.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million in April and accounted for 22.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 433,000.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (involuntary part-time workers) declined by 281,000 to 5.3 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons has decreased by 698,000.
Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 336 of the country’s 388 metropolitan areas; higher in 38 areas; and unchanged in 14 areas.
Twenty-three metropolitan areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent, and 11 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.
Ames, Iowa, and Boulder, Colo., had the lowest unemployment rates, 2.0 percent each, closely followed by Fort Collins, Colo., 2.1 percent. El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rate at 19.2 percent.