U.S. payrolls grow as jobless rate edges down

Payrolls continue to grow in the United States even as the unemployment rate remains at its lowest level in more than 50 years.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 253,000 and the jobless rate edged down a tenth of a point to 3.4 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Estimated payroll gains for March and February were revised downward a total of 149,000. Payrolls have increased an average of 290,000 a month over the past six months.

The unemployment rate has remained below 3.7 percent for more than a year and remains at its lowest level since 1969.

For April, 5.7 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 1.2 million have been out of work 27 works or more. Another 3.9 million people were counted among those working part time because their hours were cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate held steady at 62.6 percent, still below the rate posted before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in early 2020.

Payroll gains for April were spread out among industry sectors. Employment increased 43,000 in professional and business services, 40,000 in health care, 31,000 in leisure and hospitality and 25,000 in social assistance. Government payrolls increased 23,000.

Employment in temporary help services decreased 23,000 — 174,000 since its peak in March 2022.

The average work week remained unchanged at 34.4 hours. The average manufacturing work week shortened a tenth of an hour to 40.2 hours.

Average hourly earnings rose 16 cents to $33.36. Over the past year, average hourly earnings increased 4.4 percent.