If you focus on the fact that the American economy added 290,000 jobs in April -- an unexpectedly high number, you won't be so discouraged by the news that the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent, according to the latest numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economic experts expected only about 190,000 jobs to be added last month. April was the fourth straight month that the US has added jobs, rather than lost them, signaling a slow but steady recovery. More than 15.3 million workers were unemployed last month, but at least the number of unemployed who reentered the labor force rose to 3.7 million.
Where the Jobs Are
Most American workers will be thrilled to hear that manufacturing continued to add jobs in April (44,000). Employment in this industry has increased by 101,000 since December. Three segments within the manufacturing sector -- fabricated metal products, machinery, and primary metals -- have accounted for more than half of factory job gains so far this year.
The goods-producing sector, which includes mining, continued to trend up over the month (7,000). The industry has added 39,000 jobs since October.
Construction, nonresidential building and heavy construction each added 9,000 jobs in April.
Best of all, employment in professional and business services rose by 80,000 over the month. Within the industry, job growth continued in temporary help services (26,000), where employment has increased by 330,000 since September. Employment also rose in services to buildings and dwellings (23,000) and in computer systems design (7,000) in April.
5. Health Care
Health care also continues to add jobs -- 20,000 jobs over the month, in line with average monthly growth over the prior 12 months.
Employment also continued to grow in leisure and hospitality (45,000). The industry has added 121,000 jobs since December, led by gains in food services.
As expected, federal government employment rose in April, but that reflects the hiring of 66,000 temporary workers for Census 2010. Employment in state and local governments was essentially unchanged.
Where the Jobs Aren't
The number of jobs actually fell in the transportation sector. Within that sector, employment fell in courier and messenger services (-21,000). Other major industries showed little change in employment.
Unfortunately, in April there was a new record high in the number of people who had been jobless for 27 weeks or more: 6.7 million people. These long-term unemployed made up 45.9 percent of all the unemployed.
When looking at these most recent numbers, you have to consider the fact that we need to add more than 100,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the growth of the working-age population. That means it will be necessary to add more than 100,000 jobs per month to help the millions of Americans who are already considered unemployed.
It might be an extremely slow process, but the addition of those 290,000 jobs in April is still promising.
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