US Shows Strong Job Gains in April with Unemployment Approaching 50-Year Low

US April nonfarm payrolls rose by 428,000 (consensus 391,000) with March’s also a revised 428K new jobs. April unemployment rate was 3.6% (consensus 3.5%), versus 3.6% in March. In the face of surging inflation April average hourly earnings rose 0.3% (consensus 0.4%) The change in private payrolls +406K, more than the +380K expected.


May 2022 U.S. Employment Report

The jobless rate stayed at 3.6% the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate is quickly approaching the February 2020 pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%, which was a 50-year low.

After Covid-19 virus threatened the global economy, war and inflation threatens any recovery again.  Is this Deja vu? As the world’s economy was shut down and much of America had stay at home orders the threat of Omicron is causing a nervous reminder of those dark days.

The market had expected the April report released Friday to show nonfarm payrolls rise 391k new jobs which it beat with 428k new jobs.  The volatile numbers point up how difficult estimating the jobs situation is amid an economy struggling to get back to normal following the coronavirus-inducted shutdown.

US Jobs Report

April 2022 US Employment Report & Expectations


  • US Change In Nonfarm Payrolls Apr: 428K (est 380K; prev 431K; prevR 428K)
  • US Unemployment Rate Apr: 3.6% (est 3.5%; prev 3.6%)
  • US Labour Force Participation Rate Apr: 62.2% (est 62.5%; prev 62.4%)
  • Two-month net revision -10K
  • US Change In Private Payrolls Apr: 406K (est 390K; prev 426K; prevR 424K)
  • US Change In Manufacturing Payrolls Apr: 55K (est 35K; prev 38K; prevR 43K)
  • Change in Government Payrolls rose k over the month.
  • U6 underemployment rate 7.0% vs 6.9% prior
  • Long-term unemployed at 1.5m vs 1.2m pre-pandemic)
  • The employment-population ratio 60.0% vs 61.2% before pandemic (prior 60.1%)
  • US Average Hourly Earnings (M/M) Apr: 0.3% (est 0.4%; prev 0.4%; prevR 0.5%)
  • US Average Hourly Earnings (Y/Y) Apr: 5.5% (est 5.5%; prev 5.6%)
  • US Average Weekly Hours All Employees Apr: 34.6 (est 34.7; prev 34.6)

The unemployment rate and number of unemployed persons prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was 3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020)

United States Non Farm Payrolls

Where the Jobs Were:

  • Job gains were widespread
  • Largest gains occurring in leisure and hospitality (78K), namely food services and drinking places (44K) and accommodation (22K); manufacturing (55K), mainly durable goods (31K), transportation equipment (14K) and machinery (7K); and transportation and warehousing (52K).
  • That leaves the economy down by 1.2 million jobs, or 0.8 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Labour shortages continue to weigh even after federal government-funded unemployment benefits have expired and schools reopened. Some investors believe such shortages could get worse due to the White House’s vaccine mandate.

Private Jobs

United States Nonfarm Payrolls - Private

Government Jobs


United States Government Payrolls

Manufacturing Jobs

United States Manufacturing Payrolls


 Wages Monthly

United States Average Hourly Earnings MoM

Wages Yearly

United States Average Hourly Earnings YoY


United States Average Weekly Hours


  Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent in April, and the number of unemployed persons was
essentially unchanged at 5.9 million. These measures are little different from their values in February
2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively), prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women
(3.2 percent), teenagers (10.2 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (3.1 percent),
and Hispanics (4.1 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers remained at 1.4 million in April, and the
number of persons on temporary layoff was little changed at 853,000. These measures are little
different from their values in February 2020. (See table A-11.)

In April, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed
at 1.5 million. This measure is 362,000 higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed
accounted for 25.2 percent of all unemployed persons in April. (See table A-12.)
Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0
percent, were little changed over the month. These measures are each 1.2 percentage points below their
February 2020 values. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 4.0 million in
April and is down by 357,000 from its February 2020 level. These individuals, who would have
preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they
were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.9
million in April. This measure is above its February 2020 level of 5.0 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. (See table A-1.)

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to
the labor force increased by 262,000 in April to 1.6 million. These individuals wanted and were
available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for
work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached
who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 456,000 in April, little different from the
prior month. (See Summary table A.)

Household Survey Supplemental Data

In April, 7.7 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down
from 10.0 percent in the prior month. These data refer to employed persons who teleworked or worked
at home for pay at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey specifically because of the pandemic.

In April, 1.7 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer
closed or lost business due to the pandemic—that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at
some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey due to the pandemic. This measure is down from 2.5
million in the previous month. Among those who reported in April that they were unable to work
because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 19.0 percent received at least some pay from
their employer for the hours not worked, little different from the prior month.

Among those not in the labor force in April, 586,000 persons were prevented from looking for work
due to the pandemic, down from 874,000 in the prior month. (To be counted as unemployed, by
definition, individuals must be either actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.)

These supplemental data come from questions added to the household survey beginning in May 2020 to
help gauge the effects of the pandemic on the labor market. The data are not seasonally adjusted. Tables
with estimates from the supplemental questions for all months are available online at

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 428,000 in April. Job gains were widespread, with the
largest gains occurring in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and
warehousing. However, nonfarm employment is down by 1.2 million, or 0.8 percent, from its prepandemic level in February 2020. (See table B-1.)

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).

In April, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+41,000). Since
February 2020, employment in the industry is up by 738,000.

Financial activities added 35,000 jobs in April, led by a gain in insurance carriers and related activities
(+20,000). Employment also rose in nondepository credit intermediation (+6,000) and in securities,
commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000). Employment in financial activities is 71,000 higher
than in February 2020.

Health care employment rose by 34,000 in April, reflecting a gain in ambulatory health care services
(+28,000). Employment in health care is down by 250,000, or 1.5 percent, since February 2020.
Employment in retail trade increased by 29,000 in April. Job gains in food and beverage stores
(+24,000) and general merchandise stores (+12,000) were partially offset by losses in building material
and garden supply stores (-16,000) and health and personal care stores (-9,000). Retail trade
employment is 284,000 above its level in February 2020

In April, wholesale trade employment rose by 22,000. Employment in the industry is down by 57,000,
or 1.0 percent, since February 2020.

Mining added 9,000 jobs in April, with a gain in oil and gas extraction (+5,000). Mining employment is
73,000 higher than a recent low in February 2021.

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including construction,
information, other services, and government


Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3
percent, to $31.85 in April. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.5
percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees
rose by 10 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $27.12. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.6 hours in
April. In manufacturing, the average workweek for all employees fell by 0.2 hour to 40.5 hours, and
overtime held at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on
private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.1 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 36,000, from
+750,000 to +714,000, and the change for March was revised down by 3,000, from +431,000 to
+428,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 39,000 lower than
previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and
government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

The Employment Situation for May is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 3, 2022, at 8:30
a.m. (ET)

Source: AFP, Challenger, DOL, TradersCommunity Data, BLS

From The TraderCommunity Research Desk