Less-Educated Workers Were Hardest Hit in Recession. That Hasn’t Changed.

The April employment report was considerably weaker than had generally been expected, with the economy adding just 266,000 jobs. Furthermore, the prior two months numbers were revised down by 78,000. The unemployment rate edged up to 6.1 percent, but this was entirely due to more people entering the labor force. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) also edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 57.9 percent. That is still 2.9 percentage points below its average for 2019. Performance Across Sectors Was Very Mixed The leisure and hospitality sector accounted for more than all the gains in April, adding 331,000 jobs. Restaurants added 187,000; arts and entertainment added 89,600; and hotels added 54,400. State and local government added a surprisingly low 39,000 jobs, almost all in education. Employment in state and local governments is still 1,278,000 below the pre-pandemic level. There should be large employment increases here as more schools reopen in May.