Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing. Meanwhile, average hourly pay for workers rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier, to $31.85 from $30.20.
Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 78,000 in April. Job growth continued in food services and drinking places (+44,000) and accommodation (+22,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.4 million, or 8.5 percent since February 2020.
Manufacturing added 55,000 jobs in April. Employment in durable goods rose by 31,000, with gains in transportation equipment (+14,000) and machinery (+7,000). Nondurable goods added 24,000 jobs, with job growth in food manufacturing (+8,000) and plastics and rubber products (+6,000). Since February 2020, manufacturing employment is down by 56,000, or 0.4 percent.
Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 52,000 in April. Within the industry, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+17,000), couriers and messengers (+15,000), truck transportation (+13,000), and air transportation (+4,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing is 674,000 above its February 2020 level, led by strong growth in warehousing and storage (+467,000) and in couriers and messengers (+259,000).
The US economy has regained nearly 95 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic related lockdowns in the spring of 2020. However, the labor supply over the past year has not kept up with a record wave of job openings, as businesses expand to meet the demand for a variety of goods and services.
To combat rising prices the Fed raised interest rates by the most in over 20 years. Though the strong payrolls suggest demand for labor remains high. Job openings and quits are back at record highs, and businesses are scrambling to hire enough workers to keep up with resilient consumer demand.