Unemployment rate drops to 8.1 percent, but drop attributed to people giving up looking for work
Online Staff Report
The U.S. Labor Department announced May 4 that the U.S. economy added 115,000 jobs in April, below March’s revised increase of 154,000 and fewer than the pace set earlier this year.
The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in April, down from 8.2 percent in March. The nationwide unemployment rate has now dropped a full percentage point since August to a three-year low.
The April drop is attributed to people giving up looking for work, as the government only counts those actively seeking employment when tabulating its unemployment rate.
The percentage of adults working or looking for work fell to its lowest level in more than 30 years, and more than 5 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or longer.
At least 125,000 jobs must be created each month to keep up with population growth.
An average of 252,000 jobs per month were added from December through February. But job gains have averaged just 135,000 in the last two months, below last year’s pace of 164,000 per month.
The average hourly rate rose a penny to $23.38 in April, equaling a 1.8 percent increase over the past year, which trails the rate of inflation.
Sectors adding jobs in April included manufacturers, retailers, and hotels and restaurants. Cuts were made in shipping and warehousing firms, construction companies and government jobs.
The government reported May 3 that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by the most in a year. Some believe the drop in requests for unemployment benefits could be reflected in solid May jobs numbers.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., issued the following statement regarding the April jobs report:
“Do you remember the chart the president’s economic team put out that projected with the ‘stimulus’ unemployment would never rise above 8 percent? What about the press conference where the president said 90 percent of the jobs created by the ‘stimulus’ would be private sector jobs?
“None of those promises panned out. If anything, things have gotten worse — and according to today’s report by the Department of Labor, unemployment remains above 8 percent for April.
“About half of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed in this weak economy. We can’t continue to follow the same failed agenda that has driven job creators further into doubt and uncertainty.
“The road to refueling our economy and creating jobs means tackling our debt head on; simplifying the tax code; reining in Washington’s red-tape factory; and making our nation energy secure by moving policy forward like the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would help lower costs at the pump and create jobs here at home.”
Posted May 4, 2012