The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that U.S. employers expanded payrolls by 253,000 jobs in April. This figure is well above economists’ forecasts of about 180,000 jobs.

The agency also notes that employment gains in February and March combined were lower than previously reported — by 149,000 jobs.

Unemployment rate slides to 3.4%

The national unemployment rate decreased to 3.4% in April. In March, the rate was 3.5%.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older — the professionals highly sought-after by many employers — also edged down slightly last month to 1.9%. The rate was 2.0% in March.

Healthcare and professional and business services led April’s job growth

Employers in the private education and health services sector fueled much of the job creation last month, adding 77,000 jobs. Professional and business services also experienced significant job growth, with employers adding 43,000 positions to their payrolls.

These industries also saw notable job gains in April, according to the latest jobs report:

  • Leisure and hospitality: 31,000 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 23,000 jobs added
  • Government: 23,000 jobs added
  • Construction: 15,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 11,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 10,600 jobs added
  • Retail trade: 7,700 jobs added

U.S. job openings on the decline — but millions of workers still quitting jobs

Separate research from the BLS shows that 9.6 million jobs in the United States were waiting to be staffed at the end of March. That’s down from 9.9 million in February, which also marked the first time since May 2021 that the number of U.S. job openings had fallen below 10 million.

While job openings have been decreasing lately, they are still well above pre-pandemic levels. For example, in March 2019, there were 7.3 million job openings, according to BLS data.

Also, the BLS reports that 3.9 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in March 2023 — a figure little changed from the 4 million quits seen in February. This suggests that many skilled workers remain confident in their ability to make a career move despite uncertain economic conditions and fewer job openings. This trend also aligns with recent research from Robert Half, which found that nearly half of U.S. workers (46%) plan to look for a new job in the first half of this year.

Get more details on the latest hiring trends

Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report presents up-to-date information on hiring trends and in-demand roles for several key industries, including administrative and customer support, finance and accounting, technology, and marketing and creative. Our latest issue provides data on local hiring and remote job trends in the United States, insight into employers’ hiring and retention concerns, and how workers view current economic conditions and the hiring market.

View The Demand for Skilled Talent report now on the Robert Half website.

For further analysis of the latest jobs report from the BLS and U.S. employment trends, watch this video from Robert Half Operational President, Dawn Fay:

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