The U.S. economy added 290,000 jobs in April, the largest monthly increase in four years, dating back to March 2006, when the economy added 304,000 jobs. The numbers bode well for Florida and Flagler: Construction, tourism and health care jobs are all up, signs of likely strength in the months ahead for Florida’s employment picture.
Despite the national increase, the unemployment rate went up from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent because thousands of workers who had given up looking for jobs previously are flooding back into the workforce: Among the unemployed, the number of reentrants to the labor force rose by 195,000 over the previous month. The number of unemployed stands at 15.3 million.
Census jobs accounted for some of the job gains, but not nearly in as large a proportion as previously assumed: in April, Census hiring accounted for 66,000 temporary workers, or just 23 percent of the new jobs.
Manufacturing added 44,000 jobs, construction edged up 14,000 (a good sign for the housing industry), and employment in professional and service industries rose by 80,000. Health care employment also grew by 20,000, and by 45,000 in the tourism and hospitality industry (a good sign for Florida).
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up over the month, reaching 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
In other signs of a solidifying recovery, February job figures were revised from a loss of 14,000 to a gain of 39,000. And March figures were revised from a gain of 162,000 to a gain of 230,000, bringing total job creation in the past three months to 559,000.
Average hourly earnings of all employees in the private nonfarm sector increased by 1 cent to $22.47 in April. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.6 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and non-managerial or supervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $18.96.
In Flagler County, the latest numbers (for March) showed 0.4 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate, which settled at 16.6 percent. It was the lowest rate since October, but still ranked as the highest rate in the state. In actual numbers, 5,492 Flagler residents were out of work in March, down from February’s 5,606.
In Florida as a whole, unemployment continued to climb to post-Depression records, hitting 12.3 percent in March, with a loss of 4,000 jobs and a total of 1,138,000 people unemployed–despite the hiring of thousands of Census workers, and despite the national trend pointing to more job creation in the last two months.