WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 253,000 jobs were added in April. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.4% (seasonally adjusted) from 3.5%, and the number of unemployed persons fell to 5.7 million from 5.8 million. The labor force participation was unchanged at 62.6%.

Women-specific data:

  • The unemployment rate for adult women remains unchanged at 3.1%.
  • The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% for adult black women and fell to 4.1% for Hispanic women.
  • Women’s labor force participation rose to 58.6%, below its pre-pandemic level.

Patrice Onwuka, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) at Independent Women’s Forum, issued the following statement:

“On its face, the jobs report seemed strong, but there are signs that the economy is not well, and the labor market is catching up to that reality. Downward revisions of 149,000 jobs for February and March signal that hiring is slowing. April’s job gains may very well be much lower.

“The labor force participation rate at 62.6% is still well below its pre-pandemic level (63.3%) as millions of workers remain out of the labor force. With high prices still outpacing pay increases — but with 9.6 million positions available — now should be the time for sidelined workers to return to the labor force to boost household finances.

“For some workers, a traditional 9-to-5 job is untenable due to caregiving duties, health concerns, and early retirement. Flexible independent contracting opportunities, including those in the gig economy, are critical to drawing workers back into the labor force on terms that fit their unique situations.

“We need advocates for independent contracting, not adversaries in high-ranking labor positions nationally. Julie Su, President Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Labor (DOL), would thwart independent contractors and make it more difficult for the nation’s small businesses to weather the next economic downturn. Senators would be wise to protect flexible work and freelance opportunities in their states by ensuring that Su is not given the reins at DOL.”

Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) aims to educate the public about how government policies impact people’s opportunities for economic development and upward mobility.