Why US Employment Numbers Fall Short of Expectations in April 2021

Against widespread forecasts of the US economy adding about 1 million jobs in April 2021, the latest employment report released by the Labor Department showed that the economy added a disappointing 266,000 jobs last month. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose slightly from 6 per cent to 6.1 per cent, and the number of unemployed persons stood at 9.8 million last month.

While these measures were significantly down from their recent highs in April 2020, they prevail well above their levels seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The labor force participation rate also changed a little to 61.7 per cent in April, which is about 1.6 percentage points less than in February 2020. Moreover, the employment-population ratio stood at 57.9 per cent, higher by 0.5 percentage point since December 2020 but 3.2 percentage points below the February 2020 level.