161,031,000: Number of Americans Employed Sets Fifth Straight Record in April

Craig Bannister | May 5, 2023
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After setting four straight monthly records, the number of employed Americans rose again last month, reaching another all-time high in April.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics says 161,031,000 Americans were employed last month, an increase of 139,000 over March’s record of 160,892,000.

BLS defines employed Americans as those who, during the reference week, did some work for pay or profit, or did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-operated business.

As the number of employed Americans rose again last month, the number of unemployed Americans -- no job, but looking -- dropped by 182,000, producing an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, down a tenth of a point from March, the lowest it's been since 1969.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics decreased to 4.4 percent in April, down from 4.6 percent the prior month. The unemployment rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), and Asians (2.8 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for Blacks fell from 5.0 percent to 4.7 percent and that of teenagers declined from 9.8 percent to 9.2 percent.

The labor force participation rate held at 62.6 percent for the third straight month, the highest it's been in three years.

In April, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 266,443,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution, such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 166,688,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning they were either employed or unemployed -- they either had a job or were actively looking for one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 62.6 percent, unchanged from March and the highest it's been since Joe Biden became president.

But on a less positive note, BLS says the non-farm economy added 253,000 jobs last month, below estimates and lower than its average of 290,000 over the prior six months

In April, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance.

Breaking it down by industry:

-- Leisure and hospitality added 31,000 jobs in April, lower than the average monthly gain of 73,000 over the prior 6 months;

-- Government employment, +23,000;

-- Professional and business services, +43,000;

-- Health care, +40,000 jobs;

-- Employment was little changed over the month in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and other services.

The number of Americans counted as not in the workforce – no job and not looking for one – rose by 214,000 in April, to 99,755,000. This group includes a growing number of retirees.

And the number of people not in the labor force who want a job increased by 346,000 to 5.3 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 16 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $33.36. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $28.62.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.