Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Most private sector jobs growth in four years, but jobless rate rises to 9.9%

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The April 2010 employment report showed an increase of 290,000 payroll jobs. In its fourth straight month of gains, the private sector added a healthy 231,000 jobs in April, its largest jump in four years.
The increase in employment was not large enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising to 9.9%, as 805,000 workers entered the labor force. The recent surge in the labor force is a partial correction for the labor force decline of the second half of 2009, but there remains a backlog of people waiting to enter or re-enter the labor market in search of work. This will continue to keep the unemployment rate elevated even as jobs are added.
Another ongoing issue is long-term unemployment. The number of people who have been unemployed for more than six months is now 6.7 million and growing. Currently, 45.9% of this country’s 15.3 million unemployed workers have been unemployed for more than half a year.
All in all, this report is good news and shows healthy growth in the private sector. However, there is still an enormous shortage of jobs. To end this job shortage, we will need job growth at least as fast as this month’s to persist for the next four or five years. –Heidi Shierholz


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