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The Employment Situation – April 2017

Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics – U.S. Department of Labor – May 5th, 2017

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.1 million, changed little in April. Over the year, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point, and the number of unemployed has fallen by 854,000. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men declined to 4.0 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult women (4.1 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (5.2 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million in April and accounted for 22.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 433,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, changed little in April and has shown little movement over the past year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.2 percent, was also little changed over the month but was up by 0.5 percentage point since December. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 281,000 to 5.3 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons has decreased by 698,000. (See table A-8.)

In April, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 181,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 455,000 discouraged workers in April, down by 113,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

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