Friday, May 3, 2013

U.S. Payrolls Rose in April, and News on Quit Rates

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employers added 165,000 jobs nationwide in April. The largest employment gains occurred in professional and business services (+73,000 jobs), food services and drinking places (+38,000), and retail trade (+29,000). Health care added 19,000 jobs over the month.

The BLS also reported that payroll employment gains were revised upward for February and March. The latest figures show monthly gains of 332,000 jobs and 138,000 jobs, respectively. Original estimates showed an increase of 268,000 jobs in February and an additional 88,000 in March.

April's unemployment rate (7.5%) for the U.S. showed essentially no change from the previous month, but has dropped by 0.4 percentage point since January. The unemployment rate for adult women declined to 6.7 percent, while the rates for adult men (7.1%) and teens (24.1%) showed little or no change.
Another story related to national employment trends aired yesterday on the radio show Marketplace (admittedly, a personal favorite). Marketplace reported that growing ranks of Americans are quitting their jobs. The BLS keeps track of the "quits rate" -- when people leave their jobs. People tend to quit their jobs when they're moving to another job, or when they think there's another job out there for them. So, the quits rate could generally reflect workers' perceptions about the economy.

The BLS data show that the quits rate hit 1.7 percent in February, meaning that roughly two out of every 100 people quit their job. That's up from 1.2 percent in 2009, but still below the 2.1 percent seen before the Great Recession. Marketplace noted that the quits rate is consistent with a job market that's improving, but not rapidly.

You can find more details on the nation's April employment situation in the BLS news release, and read more about quit rates in the full story from Marketplace.

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