Representative Image

U.S. unemployment unchanged at 3.6 pct in April amid tight labor market

May 07, 2022

Washington [US], May 7:U.S. employers added 428,000 jobs in April as the Omicron-fuelled COVID-19 surge fades, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.6 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday.
Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing, according to the report released by the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Companies were struggling to hire as labor market supply could not meet demand. The number of job openings was little changed at 11.5 million by end of March, the highest level in the history of the series which began in December 2000, the BLS reported Tuesday.
The newly released monthly employment report showed that the number of unemployed persons, however, dropped slightly from 6 million in March to 5.9 million in April, indicating that there are 1.9 job positions for every unemployed.
"The labor market is extremely tight, and inflation is much too high," Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday afternoon at a press conference, noting that the central bank is moving "expeditiously" to bring inflation back down.
Noting that there is an imbalance between supply and demand in the labor market, Powell said the Fed's policies would moderate demand, which would help lower job vacancies. With more people coming back to the labor market, supply and demand will come back into balance, he said.
The April employment report showed that the labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.2 percent, still about one percentage point below the pre-pandemic level of 63.4 percent.
The report also showed that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in April, which was slightly above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3 percent, to 31.85 U.S. dollars in April, the BLS report showed. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.5 percent.
The Fed on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, marking the sharpest rate hike since 2000, and signaled it would keep hiking at that pace at the next couple of meetings.
As the Fed takes more aggressive steps to rein in the highest inflation in four decades, Diane Swonk, chief economist at the major accounting firm Grant Thornton, noted that the Fed is "much more focused on inflation than unemployment, and willing to accept a rise in unemployment."
Source: Xinhua