The real unemployment rate – April 2021

The real unemployment rate – April 2021

Bottom Line: Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was the best since last August. After last’s week’s ADP Report showing a surge of hiring by businesses of all sizes in March there was reason for optimism. It was justified once government jobs were accounted for as well. Importantly it marked the third consecutive month of improvement as well. While the unemployment rate has consistently been falling, one of the issues in recent months had been the number of people long-term unemployed, which made the unemployment rate look artificially lower than reality. The process made in March was the real deal with simply significantly more people going back to work. 

First, the headline numbers from the jobs report:

  • Unemployment rate 6% (down .2%)
  • +916,000 jobs
  • Positive revisions from previous months totaling 156,000 jobs

In the but wait, there’s more category... Not only was the gain of greater than 900k thousand jobs impressive but government revisions found another significant chunk of jobs they’d missed previously taking the net job growth reflected in this report to nearly 1.1 million jobs. That’s great news. Florida once again was one of the states to lead the way with positive revisions. Florida’s unemployment rate, at 4.7% remains 20% lower than the national average.

The real unemployment rate once underemployed, long-term unemployed and marginally attached people are accounted for:

  • Actual: 10.7% (down .4%)

There are currently 11.9 million people who are long-term unemployed, underemployed or marginally attached to the workforce which make up the difference between the base rate of 6% and the real rate of 10.7%. This is where the real news from this report showed up. Not only did we add back the jobs already discussed – another 200,000 people not counted by the base rate went back to work as real. 

As for Demographics...

  • The biggest beneficiaries were Hispanics with the Asian unemployment rate rising slightly and all other ethnicities pretty much flat. 

As for Money...

  • The average hourly wage fell by 4 cents per hour during the month $29.96
  • The average full-time income is currently $54,371 an increase of $378 over the prior month

Many of the jobs added in March were lower paying that existing jobs in the workforce which brought hourly earnings back below $30, however an increase in average hours worked led to the average full-time employed person earning more during the month and nearly record high earnings. Generally, this remains an economy of jobs haves and have nots. Those who are fulltime employed are generally earning more than they ever have.  

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