Employment update: Jobs up, jobless rate down

The number of jobs in the United States continues to grow even as the jobless rate slips.

According to the Department of Labor estimates for April, nonfarm payrolls increased 223,000 and the unemployment rate inched down a tenth of a point to 5.4 percen, the lowest level since May 2008.

The initial estimate for job gains in March was revised downward 41,000 to just 85,000, the smallest monthly gain since June 2012. The initial estimate for February was revised upward 2,000 to 266,000, but the net difference for the two months totaled 39,000 less than what originally was announced.

The number of people counted among the long-term unemployed who’ve been out of work 27 weeks or longer was little changed at 2.5 million. Another 6.6 million  people were counted among those working part-time because their hours have  been cut or they’re unable to find full-time positions.

For April, business and professional services added a net 62,000 jobs, while the health care and construction sectors each added a net 45,000 new jobs. Employment increased 15,000 in transportation and warehousing.

The mining sector lost 15,000 jobs with layoffs in support activities for mining and oil and natural gas extraction.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.5 hours in April. The average manufacturing workweek edged down a tenth of an hour to 40.8 hours.

Average hourly earnings on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 3 cents to $24.87 in April. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 2.2 percent.