Hickey US Jobs Report Thumbnail - April 2021

Hickey Jobs Report Update – April 2021

Hickey Jobs Report Update – US misses bold expectations, but still adds 266,000 jobs in April


U.S. economy misses big expectations by nearly 75% as only 266,000 jobs were added with unemployment slightly ticking up to 6.1%, according the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Report 

Despite expansive, successful vaccination programs and increasing consumer confidence, the U.S. economy only 266,000 nonfarm jobs in April.  Economists were predicting bold expectations for the previous month, with many predicting that America’s workforce grew by more than one million.  Leisure and hospitality were among the sectors leading the charge, as temporary help and couriers and messengers employment declined. The data in this update derives from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary, often referred to as the Jobs Report.

Following a significant hiring surge the previous month, the unemployment rate slightly increased to 6.1%. While much improved from pre-Covid levels, the national figures are still higher from February 2020 levels (3.5% and 5.7 million, respectively).  With increased pressures on the larger hiring environment, average hourly earnins for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls experienced little movement, rising 21 cents to $30.17.

Key Industries

Leisure and Hospitality

The dynamic leisure and hospitality continued to show gains as pandemic-related restrictions lift throughout the nation.  In total, the industry added 331,000 the previous month, more than 30,000 than the previous month.  More than half of the jobs came from food services and drinking places adding 187,000.  Further hiring came from amusements, gambling, and recreation at 73,000 and hotels and accomodation at 54,000.  Despite adding 5.4 million jobs over the past year, the industry is still down by 2.8 million jobs since February 2020 levels, a decrease of 16.8%.



Employment in local government education increased substantially by 31,000 in April 2021.  Since February 2020, employment in the sectors is still down by nearly 611,000.


Robust growth across the industry was driven by specialty trade contractors, heavy and civil engineering construction, and construction in buildings in March.  However, there was little change across the industry in April.  Over the past year, industry employment is up by 917,000, which is 196,000 below February 2020 levels.

Professional and Business Services

Architectural and engineering services and cientific research and development services led the way in industry hiring this past month at 12,000 and 7,000, respectively.  Employment in temporary help services declined significantly last month by 111,000, leaving the sector at 296,000 less jobs than in February 2020.


Employment in the manufacturing lost 18,000 jobs in April 2021 after two straight strong months of gains.  Miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing and chemicals added at 13,000 and 4,000, respectively.  Meanwhile, motor vehicles and parts and wood products lost 27,000 and 7,000 respectively.  Manufacturing as a whole is down by 515,000 jobs from February 2020.

Transportation and Warehousing

Couriers and messengers, one of the major growth sectors since the onset of the pandemic, had a major decline of 77,000 jobs in April.  The industry is still up by 126,000 since February 2020.  As travel continues to pick up and optimism grows, the air transportation sector added 7,000 jobs in the previous month.

Retail Trade

Following a strong previous month, retail trade had little change in losing 15,000 jobs in April.  Gains in the industry were in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores at 20,000, clothing and clothing accessories stores with 10,000 new jobs, and health and personal care stores at 9,000.  Food and beverage stores had the largest decline in losing 49,000 jobs in April.  Overall, the vast industry is 400,000 lower than in February 2020.



Financial sectors were among the postive trending industries in adding 19,000 during April 2021.  The largest gainer occurred in real estate and rental and leasing adding 17,000 jobs.  Altogether, the industry is down by 63,000 since pre-Covid levels.

Health Care 

As vaccination programs push forward, overall health care industry employment saw little changes in April 2021.  Ambulatory health care services was the most active industry by adding 21,000 jobs, while nursing care facilities lost 19,000 workers.  The industry in total is down by 542,000 jobs since February 2020.

Other Industries

Among other industries across the U.S. economy, the following employment numbers were released in the latest report:

  • Social Assistance: +23,000 jobs
  • Wholesale Trade: little change
  • Mining: little change


For more information on the latest Jobs Report, including additional details on the data concepts and statistical methodologies utilized, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary website.