Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in April, up from last month’s revised estimate of 85,000. The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.4 percent, the lowest since 2008. The Federal Reserve has placed its full-employment estimate between 5 percent and 5.2 percent.
The strongest gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Professional and business services gained 62,000 jobs in April. Health care added 45,000 jobs in April and 390,000 jobs over the last year. Construction gained 45,000 jobs in April and 280,000 jobs over the past year.
Mining employment saw job losses, losing 15,000 jobs in April. Most of the losses were in support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction. Mining employment has fallen by 49,000 since the beginning of the year.
The civilian labor force participation rate remained virtually unchanged at 62.8 percent. It has held between 62.7 percent and 62.9 percent since April 2014.
Average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $24.87. Hourly earnings have increased by 2.2 percent over the last year.
The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 2.5 million. This group accounts for 29 percent of the unemployed. The number of involuntary part-time workers was little changed at 6.6 million.