U.S. Employment Continues Steady Increase
By MacKenzie C. Babb
Washington - U.S. employment increased in April thanks to job gains in professional and business services, retail trade, health care and manufacturing, according to the Labor Department's monthly employment report.
The report, released May 4, showed employment decreases in transportation and warehousing. There was little change from the previous month in several major industries, including mining and logging, construction, wholesale trade, information, financial activities and government.
"Despite adverse shocks that have created head winds for economic growth, the economy has added private-sector jobs for 26 straight months for a total of 4.25 million payroll jobs over that period," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
The report showed an addition of 130,000 jobs in April, bringing the number of private sector jobs added in 2012 to 827,000.
April also saw a dip in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent in March. Krueger said that since August 2011, the unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point, from 9.1 percent to 8.1 percent.
In a statement following the report's release, Krueger said the report offers evidence that the economy "is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," but cautioned that "much more remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and the deep recession."
The most significant gains came in professional and business services, which increased by 62,000 jobs during the month; retail trade, which added 29,000 jobs; health care, rising by 19,000; and manufacturing, which added 16,000 jobs.
Krueger commended continued growth in manufacturing, calling it a "bright spot" for the U.S. economy. After losing millions of good jobs in the years before and during the recession, the chairman said, manufacturing has added 489,000 jobs since January 2010.
A total of 16,000 jobs were lost in transportation and warehousing, while construction employment dropped by 2,000. The chairman said local governments also shed 12,000 jobs, mostly in education.
The employment report follows an April 27 report from the Commerce Department showing the U.S. economy has continued to grow for the 11th straight quarter. The department's Bureau of Economic Analysis showed a 2.2 percent increase in U.S. gross domestic product from January to March 2012.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank expects the unemployment rate to continue declining gradually to reflect the continued moderate pace of economic growth, dropping to between 7.8 percent and 8 percent by the end of 2012.
The Labor Department is scheduled to release the May employment report June 1.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)