The number of jobs added by employers around the country in April was 165,000, according to the monthly jobs report released Friday morning. Economists had thought job growth might slow because of federal budget cuts, but this number is exactly in line with the pace of growth of the last year — 169,000 a month. That’s fast enough that new graduates and immigrants can find jobs, and some of the unemployed can return to work, but not fast enough to absorb the slack in the labor market. To give a sense of scale, from May 2005 to April 2006, job growth averaged 222,300 a month.
The unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, and has fallen by .4 of a percent since January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. A healthy unemployment rate is 5 percent.
The biggest problem for the economy, the number of people unable to find work for six months or longer, is only gradually getting better. There are 4.4 million people who have been trying to find a job for more than six months, and while that’s down 258,000 from March, and 687,000 over the last year, it’s still far higher than it’s been in a generation.
Over 37 percent of unemployed people have been looking for six months or longer.
Chris Williamson, an economist from Markit, responded to the report by noting that 783,000 new jobs in 2013 is not as strong as 899,000 jobs in the first four months of 2012. He added, “But the news nevertheless paints a far brighter picture of the US labor market than the gloom that was beginning to pervade with the release of last month’s lackluster count.”