Jobs Flash: April Data Show Sharp Drop in Unemployment as People Leave Labor Market

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Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 02 May 2014 09:05

The unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent in March to 6.3 percent in April, but the drop was entirely the result of 800,000 people leaving the labor force. Employment, as measured in the household survey, actually fell by 73,000. The employment to population ratio remained unchanged at 58.9 percent.

Women and white teens were the big gainers, with the unemployment rate for women falling by 0.5 percentage points to 5.7 percent. The unemployment rate for white teens fell by 2.4 percentage points to 15.9 percent. The unemployment rate for black teens increased by 0.7 percentage points to 36.8 percent, although their EPOP also rose by 1.4 pp. The unemployment rate for Hispanics also fell sharply from 7.9 percent to 7.3 percent.

The establishment survey showed an unambiguously positive picture with the economy adding 288,000 jobs. With upward revisions to the prior two months' data, the average for the last three months has been 234,000.