iHire's Summary of the BLS Jobs Report

The April 2021 Jobs Report: What is the Current US Employment Situation?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly overview of the US employment situation and the data for April has improved since March as economic activity suppressed by the pandemic continues to resume. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.


The April jobs report shows a slowdown in labor market improvement. Unemployment remained fairly steady at 6.1% and total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 266,000 (following a boost of 916,000 in March), while the number of unemployed persons saw little change at 9.8 million (compared to 5.8 million in February 2020).


Unemployment Rate


Number of Unemployed Persons


Change in Nonfarm Payroll Employment


Here are some other key statistics from the labor department jobs report:

  • The number of people on temporary layoff remained steady at 2.1 million. However, this is down from 18.0 million in April 2020.
  • 9.4 million people were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. This number has decreased by 2 million since March.
  • 2.8 million people who were not in the labor force in April were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic. This number has decreased from 3.7 million in March.

April brought job gains for sectors including leisure and hospitality (mostly from restaurants and bars), other services (like repair, maintenance, personal, and laundry services), and local government education. However, they were partially countered by significant job losses for temporary help services and couriers and messengers. Here’s how industries were impacted in April:


Change in Employment by Industry


Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests that the economy is showing improvement as the vaccination efforts are underway and states are resuming economic activity across the country. However, it’s a long road to economic recovery, and job gains have slowed down this month. For a look at how the labor market has fared over the first quarter of 2021, check out our Quarterly Job Industry Report – Q1 2021.

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By Sarah Ballow | May 07, 2021