The US economy added only 266,000 jobs in April at the anniversary of the worst job loss for any month on record. This was far less than forecasts of economists, who had predicted America would add 1 million jobs last month.
The unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in April, up from 6% a month earlier.
It was the slowest improvement for jobs since January. Experts predicted that the vaccine rollout and the reopening of the economy would jolt hiring. But the April jobs number show that the road to recovery from the pandemic remains bumpy.
The job market isn’t just snapping back to what it was before Covid-19. The dislocations across different industries and worker demographics has been too big to recover from while Covid-19 continues to infect tens of thousands of people every day.
Lower-income earners, women, Hispanic and Black workers bore the brunt of the pandemic layoffs and millions remain out of work. Yet some industries can’t find workers. That may seem contradictory, but the job market is changing, leaving many workers permanently out of a job.
The hospitality, leisure and travel industries are still rebuilding after shuttering completely last year. Meanwhile, factories and manufacturers have trouble finding specialized and even entry-level workers as employees worry that those jobs could be sent overseas or replaced by robots.
This is a developing story. It will be updated
–Matt Egan contributed to this report.