May 2, 2014

April 2014 Employment Situation Summary (050214): 288K Jobs Added; Unemployment at 6.3%; Malaise Indicators Worse Than Ever

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:00 am

Econ Update:


  • Bloomberg — 218,000 jobs added; unemployment rate drops to 6.6 percent.
  • Associated Press — 210,000 jobs added; unemployment rate drops to 6.6 percent.
  • Business Insider — 218,000 jobs added, and “we wouldn’t be surprised by a stronger performance.”
  • Zero Hedge range — Jobs added, 180K – 250K; Unemployment rate, 6.5% – 6.8%.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data:


I’ll put up the graphic shortly, but the economy really needed to add 1.25 million jobs overall and 1.2 million in the private sector to be on track to a genuine recovery. Those numbers, if achieved would probably generate seasonally adjusted results of about 400,000 in each category and calls for the canonization of Barack Obama, but in historical context and in light of what’s needed to pick up slack in the labor markets, that’s what’s really needed.

The Labor Department’s report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full HTML): It looks strong at the topside, but the real answer is in the not seasonally adjusted results, which I’ll look at shortly:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains were widespread, led by job growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.

Household Survey Data

In April, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, decreased by 733,000. Both measures had shown little movement over the prior 4 months. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.2
percentage points and 1.9 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates declined in April for adult men (5.9 percent), adult women (5.7 percent), teenagers (19.1 percent), whites (5.3 percent), blacks (11.6 percent), and Hispanics (7.3 percent). The jobless rate for Asians was 5.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed over the year.

In April, the number of unemployed reentrants and new entrants declined by 417,000 and 126,000, respectively. (Reentrants are persons who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search, and new entrants are persons who have never worked.) The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs decreased by 253,000 to 5.2 million.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 287,000 in April to 3.5 million; these individuals accounted for 35.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 908,000.

The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April, following an increase of 503,000 in March. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April. The participation rate has shown no clear trend in recent months and currently is the same as it was this past October. The employment-population ratio showed no change over the month (58.9 percent) and has changed little over the year.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in April. Job growth had averaged 190,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In April, employment growth was widespread, led by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.

Professional and business services added 75,000 jobs in April. Employment in this industry had increased by an average of 55,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In April, employment growth continued in temporary help services (+24,000), in management of companies and enterprises (+12,000), and in computer systems design and related services (+9,000).

Retail trade employment rose by 35,000 in April. Over the past 12 months, employment in this industry has grown by 327,000. Within retail trade, job growth over the month occurred in food and beverage stores (+9,000), general merchandise stores (+8,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+6,000), and nonstore retailers (+4,000). Electronics and appliance stores lost 11,000 jobs in April. Wholesale trade added 16,000 jobs over the month and has added 126,000 jobs over the year.

In April, employment rose in food services and drinking places (+33,000), about in line with its prior 12-month average gain of 28,000 per month.

In April, employment in construction grew by 32,000, with job growth in heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000) and residential building (+7,000). Construction has added 189,000 jobs over the past year, with almost three-fourths of the gain occurring in the past 6 months.

Health care employment increased by 19,000 in April, about in line with the prior 12-month average gain of 17,000 per month. Employment in other services, which includes membership associations and personal and laundry services, rose by 15,000 over the month.

… Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.2 hour in April to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls
was unchanged at 33.7 hours.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls were unchanged at $24.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.9 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 3 cents to $20.50.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from +197,000 to +222,000, and the change for March was revised from +192,000 to +203,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March were 36,000 higher than previously reported.

Revised and Updated Not Seasonally Adjusted Data:


Total nonfarm payroll raw changes in February and March were almost nothing, but the seasonally adjusted values went up by 36,000 (analogous private sector: -5K in raw led to +25K seasonally adjusted).

The raw additions in April were pretty strong, but again not quite up to what’s needed. Both numbers are in between what we saw in 2010 and 2011, and both years were part of the nearly five years of tepidness we’ve seen since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

Other observations (seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • Commenter steveegg noted that Household Survey employment dropped by 73K. The civilian labor force contracted — yes, CONTRACTED! — by 806,000.
  • Reverting back to where we were in December, the labor force participation rate is now back to a level last seen in 1978.
  • “Not in labor force” topped 92 million for the first time ever.
  • Full-time workers went up by 412,000; part-timers fell by 398,000.
  • The economy has added 49,000 temps in the past two months. Temporary employment continues to hit new all-time highs month after month. This month, the category accounted for 8% of all job growth, though it’s only about 2% of all employment.
  • Question which will never be answered: How many of the recently added temps are working on cleaning up the horrendous back-office messes created at insurance companies by’s lack of a back end to communicate with them?
  • While, the white teen unemployment rate dropped from 18.3% to 15.9%, the African-American teen rate went up from 36.1% to 36.8%.

Comments from elsewhere:

Americans for Limiated Government

“The unemployment rate dropped by 0.4 percent, but that is owed almost entirely to 1 million people leaving the labor force. 73,000 jobs were lost, according to the Bureau’s household survey. This is not a good report. We’re not creating jobs, and the only reason the rate dropped is because so many people gave up looking for work. This coupled with weak first quarter growth calls into question continued stimulus policies by the Federal Reserve, and Obama’s regulatory stranglehold on job creators.”

Hot Air — “Stay tuned for the White House’s ritual spin-doctoring/endzone dancing.”

CNBC — “The headline rate tumbled as 806,000 people left the civilian labor force, a development one market strategist called ‘shocking.’”

A CNN email: “U.S. stocks get little opening lift from strong jobs report.” That’s because, overall, it wasn’t that good.


UPDATE: More on the workforce dropout factor — The civilian workforce is 549,000 smaller than it was in June 2012, 22 months ago, and only 1.211 million greater than in January 2009, when Barack Obama took office.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge — “in the one most important age group for jobs, those workers aged 25-54 which represent the bulk of the US labor force and are also the best and most productive group, the total number of jobs tumbled from 95,360K to 95,151K, a drop of 209K!”



  1. At least one of the reports is a bunch of Bravo Sierra – while non-farm jobs went up 288K, the number of employed went down 73K.

    Comment by steveegg — May 2, 2014 @ 8:40 am

  2. The seasonal factors for February and March were adjusted downward by 0.02 and 0.03 respectively. That sure is some powerful seasoning.

    Comment by steveegg — May 2, 2014 @ 9:57 am

  3. Is there a table of seasonal factors you’re referencing?

    Comment by Tom — May 2, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  4. No there is not. Unlike the DOL’s weekly jobless claims release, it’s not made public. It’s calculated off the raw numbers from the last two releases (the March release is now the only place to find the preliminary March/1st-revision Februray numbers):

    NSA non-farm – 1st-revision 136,194K, final 136,192K
    SA non-farm – 1st-revision 137,736K, final 137,761K
    Calculated non-farm seasonal factor – 1st-revision 98.88, final 98.86
    NSA private – 1st-revision 114,055K, final 114,047K
    SA private – 1st-revision 115,895K, final 115,908K
    Calculated private seasonal factor – 1st-revision 98.41, final 98.39

    NSA non-farm – prelim 137,135K, 1st-revision 137,136<
    SA non-farm – prelim 137,928K, 1st-revision 137,964K
    Calculated non-farm seasonal factor – prelim – 99.43, 1st-revision 99.40
    NSA private – prelim 114,886K, 1st-revision 114,881K
    SA private – prelim 116,087K, 1st-revision 116,110K
    Calucated private seasonal factor – prelim 98.97, 1st-revision 98.94

    Comment by steveegg — May 2, 2014 @ 10:32 am

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