The total number of unemployed now stands at 13.7 million, up from 13.2 million in March.
Job losses in February and March turned out to be deeper, according to revised figures. Employers cut 681,000 positions in February, 30,000 more than previously reported. They cut 699,000 jobs in March, more than the 663,000 first reported.
If laid-off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part-time work are included, the unemployment rate would have been 15.8 percent in April.
Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has lost a net total of 5.7 million jobs. The number of unemployed workers drawing benefits climbed to a new record 6.35 million.
Companies also kept a tight rein on workers hours. The average work week in April stayed at 33.2 hours, matching the record low set in March.
Employers last month cut the fewest jobs since 380,000 in October. Nonetheless, the April job losses were widespread.
Construction companies axed 110,000 jobs. Factories got rid of 149,000 jobs. Retailers cut payrolls by nearly 47,000.
The addition of 66,000 new “federal jobs” helped to temper the overall payroll reductions in April. The pickup in federal employment was mainly due to the hiring of 63,000 temporary Census workers.
As the recession eats into sales and profits, companies have turned to layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to survive the storm. Those including holding down workers’ hours, and freezing or cutting pay.
Looking ahead, economists expect monthly job losses for most, if not all of this year.
The Fed says unemployment will remain elevated into 2011. Economists say the job market may not get back to normal, meaning a 5 percent unemployment rate, until 2013.
The Commerce Department on Friday said wholesale inventories dropped 1.6 percent in March, much larger than the 1 percent fall that analysts had expected. That followed a 1.7 percent drop in February, the largest monthly decline on records that go back 17 years. It was the seventh straight month that wholesale inventories fell as businesses struggled to get stockpiles in line with plunging sales. Wholesalers saw sales drop 2.4 percent in March, the fifth decline in six months.
McAuley’s World: If we subtract the hiring of 66,000 temporary Federal Employees for the Census and see the same upward revision of the reported numbers (The Obama Administration consistently under-reports the monthly totals) we may have just experienced our 8th straight month of 600,000 plus in new unemployment claims?
Fudging the numbers doesn’t fix the problems ……. What Change? Isn’t this the same old style, “If the policies don’t work, just lie about the results”, politics that Washington has delivered in the past?