April Jobs Report Far Below Expectations at Disappointing 266,000

Black businesswoman with protective face mask using smart phone and looking through the window while commuting by bus.
Drazen Zigic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The U.S. only added 266,000 jobs in April, a major disappointment, especially following March’s addition of 916,000 jobs.

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The figure is well below expectations, as economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal were expecting one million new nonfarm payroll jobs — which excludes farm workers — to be created last month, according to Barron’s.

Both the unemployment rate, at 6.1%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, were little changed in April, according to the Labor Department.

“These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 3.5% and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020,” the Department said in a release.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, tells GOBankingRates that among jobs that can be done from home, jobs growth is understandably slow.

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“At the macro level, in cities like New York and San Francisco, the job market recovery is slower because so many people are working from home and aren’t using food services at the same level they did pre-pandemic,” Hunter says. “However, with California and New York implementing aggressive re-openings, we hope to see that the recovery will happen in earnest over the coming months. Bookings at restaurants and bars are back up again overall, and consumers are increasing their spending on leisure and hospitality. It’s likely that there will be a strong increase for food service and accommodation workers — something we’re already starting to see. It’s just a matter of time before increased vaccinations and the release of pent-up demand for experiences will result in employment gains in these industries.”

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In terms of sectors, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 331,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in many parts of the country. More than half of the increase was in food services and drinking places, according to the release.

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Although the leisure and hospitality has added 5.4 million jobs over the year, employment in the industry is down by 2.8 million, or 16.8% since February 2020.

Employment increased by 44,000 in the other services industry, with gains in repair and maintenance as well as personal and laundry services.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men, 6.1%, adult women, 5.6%, teenagers, 12.3%, showed little or no change in April.

Minorities continue to be the most affected, with whites at 5.3%, Blacks  at 9.7%, Asians at 5.7% and Hispanics at 7.9%.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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