Solid Job Gains in April

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%. The April’s data indicate that the labor market remained healthy despite surging inflation, tighter financial conditions, and the war in Ukraine.

Construction industry employment (both residential and non-residential) totaled 7.6 million and has returned to its February 2020 level. Non-residential construction lost 2,000 positions in April, reflecting a decline in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-6,400). Meanwhile, residential construction employment added 3,800 jobs, after an increase of 10,600 jobs in March. Residential construction employment currently exceeds its level in February 2020, while 75% of non-residential construction jobs lost in March and April have now been recovered.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April, the same gain as in March, as reported in the Employment Situation Summary. Job gains for February and March were revised downward. The February estimate was revised down by 36,000 from +750,000 to +714,000, while the March increase was revised down by 3,000 to +428,000.

In the first four months of 2022, nearly 2.1 million jobs were created, and monthly employment growth averaged 519,000 per month. As of February 2022, total nonfarm employment is 1.2 million lower than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020, almost fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was unchanged, at 3.6% in April. It was 11.1 percentage points lower than its recent high of 14.7% in April 2020 and 0.1 percentage point higher than the rate in February 2020.

The labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, decreased 0.2 percentage points to 62.2% in April. It marks the lowest rate in the past three months. The number of persons unemployed was little changed, while the number of persons employed decreased by 353,000. The labor force participation rate for people who aged between 25 and 54 decreased to 82.4% in April.

Additionally, according to the Household Survey supplemental data, which come from questions added to the Current Population Survey (CPS) since May 2020, 7.7% of employed persons teleworked or worked at home in the last 4 weeks specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic in April, down from 10.0% in the previous month. The share of the employed who teleworked has declined for the past three months. A year ago, in April 2021, 18.3% of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Job gains in April were widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing.

Employment in the overall construction sector was barely changed (+2,000) in April, following a gain of 20,000 in March. Residential construction added 3,800 jobs, while non-residential construction employment lost 2,000 positions in April.

Residential construction employment now stands at 3.1 million in March, broken down as 897,000 builders and 2.2 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction was 11,267 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 113,200 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 1,157,300 positions.

In April, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined by 0.9 percentage points to 3.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for construction workers has been trending lower, after reaching 14.2% in April 2020, due to the housing demand impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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