The U.S. economy saw payrolls expand in April, with employers adding 266,000 jobs. However, that figure is well below analysts’ expectations of over 1 million. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that while there were notable job gains in some industries, they were partially offset by declines in others.

Also, revised figures from the BLS for February and March show that those two months combined saw 78,000 fewer positions added than previously reported. Accounting for those corrections, the U.S. economy has seen employment increase by just over 1.8 million jobs since the start of 2021.

Leisure and hospitality led April’s job growth

Employment in leisure and hospitality rose significantly last month, with employers in that sector adding 331,000 jobs. The BLS reports that the continued easing of pandemic-related restrictions in many parts of the country contributed to these gains.

The following industries also saw job growth in April, according to the BLS:

  • Government: 48,000 jobs added
  • Other services: 44,000 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 19,000 jobs added
  • Healthcare and social assistance: 18,500 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 7,800 jobs added

At the same time, several industries saw notable payroll contraction last month, including professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, and retail trade.

Unemployment rate ticks up to 6.1%

The national unemployment rate in April was 6.1%, edging up from 6.0% in March.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers was 3.5% last month, down from 3.7% in March. These professionals are the most highly sought-after job candidates.

Get more insight into current hiring trends

The Demand for Skilled Talent report from Robert Half provides the latest data on hiring trends and top positions for several key industries, including accounting and finance, technology, marketing and creative, healthcare, and government. The report also presents research on the rise of the “anywhere workforce” and offers tips for supporting your team members in challenging times.

Check out the report now on the Robert Half website.