Labor Force Participation
The labor force in the US stood at 155.2 million in April 2013, meaning that 63.3% of the working-age population (16 years old and over) is currently employed or unemployed (i.e., the labor force participation rate). The labor force participation rate remains the same as in March, but down from 63.6% in January 2013. People not in the labor force are mostly students, homemakers, early retirees or those who have withdrawn from the labor market due to economic or other reasons. .
Employment, Unemployment, and Other Measures of Labor Underutilization
165,000 net new jobs were created in April 2013. The private sector added 176,000 jobs while the public sector shed 11,000 jobs. Over the prior 12 months, employment growth had averaged 169,000 per month. The employment to population ratio (E/P) of 58.6% remains about unchanged from the previous month and has witnessed little movement over the past year.
Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs in April. Job were also added in food services (+38,000), retail trades (+29,000) and health care (+19,000). On the other hand, motion picture and sound recording industries shed 10,500 jobs in April 2013.
The overall unemployment rate in the United States in April 2013 fell to 7.5%, from 7.6% in March. This unemployment rate remains significantly than the pre-recession rate of 4.6%. The number of unemployed has decreased by 673,000 since January. Yet there still remain 11.7 million Americans that would like to work but are unable to find a job. Moreover, this trend reflects different patterns for different segments of the population, as the graphs below show.
Taking into account education levels, people with less than a high school diploma have a three times higher unemployment rates than people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 258,000 to 4.4 million, making up 37.4% of the total population of unemployed.
The official unemployment is only one aspect of the current job crisis in America. If people marginally attached to the labor force (people who would like to work and have been looking for work in the past 12 months, but not in the 4 weeks preceding the survey) and people working part time for economic reasons are included, labor underutilization increases to 13.9% of the labor force.