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Unemployment rate rises in April, falling short of expectations

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Casey Harper | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Official numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show unemployment rose in the month of April as hiring fell far short of estimates.

BLS reports that the U.S. added 266,000 nonfarm jobs in April, disappointing experts. The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, jeopardizing hopes of an economic rebound as vaccinations rise. Economists predicted adding 1 million jobs to the U.S. economy but saw little more than a quarter of that, the slowest jobs increase this year since January.

"In April, nonfarm employment is down by 8.2 million, or 5.4 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020," BLS said.

Late March marked the one-month anniversary of a major spike in unemployment last year. In the thralls of the pandemic in April 2020, unemployment jumped to 14.7%, the highest spike since BLS began recording data in 1948.

“These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus…” the agency said. “Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff, at 2.1 million, changed little in April. This measure is down considerably from the recent high of 18.0 million in April 2020 but is 1.4 million higher than in February 2020.”

Economists expected better job numbers for the month after promising data in March suggested the economy was rebounding from the pandemic.

During the pandemic, the number of Americans who telework has increased and was at 18.3% for April of this year.

“Notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education were partially offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers,” the agency said.