Grocers Saw Bigger Job Gains in April; Unemployment Rate Flat

Food and beverage stores, restaurants and manufacturers recorded significant job growth last month
kroger worker
Photograph: Shutterstock

The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6% in April as nonfarm employers added 428,000 jobs in the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May 6. 

Healthy job gains were seen in food and beverage stores (adding 23,800 jobs in April), manufacturing (55,000), transportation and warehousing (52,000), and restaurants and bars (43,800).

Grocers beat their job gains from March, when conventional food and beverage stores added just shy of 18,000 jobs. Superstores and warehouse clubs added 15,600 jobs in April after adding more than 21,000 in March. 

The labor force participation rate saw a small but nonetheless disappointing dip last month, sliding to 62.2%, seasonally adjusted, from 62.4% in March. The participation rate is still higher than it was a year ago, when it stood at 61.7%, but the dip comes after several consecutive months of gains. 

The participation rate for men ages 20 and older ticked down 0.1 percentage point in April to 70.4%; the rate for women 20 and older slid 0.2 percentage points to 58%, erasing a gain of the same magnitude recorded in March.

Average hourly wages in April were up 5.5% year over year, a slight deceleration from the 5.6% year-over-year wage growth recorded in March. Consumer price inflation, meanwhile, reached 8.5% year over year in March, the latest month for which Consumer Price Index data from the BLS is currently available. April CPI numbers are scheduled to be released May 11.

The average hourly wage for all private-sector nonfarm employees stood at $31.85 in April, up 10 cents from March. For production and nonsupervisory employees, average hourly earnings stood at $27.12, also a 10-cent increase from March.

In an unusual turn of events, the BLS also issued a downward revision of its previously reported February and March jobs numbers. Payrolls were revised down by 36,000 for February and 3,000 for March. 


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