While overall hiring was sluggish, April saw an increase in the number of temporary workers. Overall, a total of 115,000 new jobs were created in April, well below the 160,000 new jobs projected. The unemployment rate dipped from 8.2% to 8.1%, mostly due to workers leaving the workforce. Of note is that the ratio of Americans actually working compared to those available to work, hit its lowest level since 1981.
The staffing industry, companies like PACE providing temporary and contract staff, added 21,000 jobs in April, 18% of the total jobs added. This increase reversed the somewhat surprising reductions in temporary and contract workers the staffing industry experienced in March, which saw 9400 temporary jobs disappear.
Overall, temporary and contract staffing has been contributing 24,000 new jobs a month since January; 50% higher than the same period in 2011, and close to 12% of the total 201,000 jobs per month created in the overall economy.
In the larger job market, the industries doing the most hiring included retail which lead the way by adding 29,300 jobs. . Professional services – legal, accounting, computer systems, engineering, etc – added 27,500 jobs. Hospitality – employees working in hotels, motels., food and drink establishments – increased by 26,700 jobs. Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs.
The biggest losers were transportation and warehousing, which lost 16,600 jobs.
Average hourly earnings for all employees held constant at $23.38/hr, approximately 1.8% higher than the average over the last 12 months.