The jobless rate is still about twice the pre-pandemic level, and economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the Labor Department’s report to show that unemployment dropped to 5.8 percent and that the economy added 978,000 jobs.
“Today’s report shows there won’t be an overnight fix for millions who remain unemployed. The U.S. economy still has a long way to go in its recovery,” The Atlantic Council’s Josh Lipsky said.
The figure marks a massive plummet from March’s revised number of 770,000 from 916,000.
The unemployment rate also revealed major racial disparities, as it stood at 9.7 percent for Blacks and 7.9 percent for Hispanics, while Asians posted at 5.7 percent and Whites at 5.3 percent.
Much of the job growth could point to the gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 330,000 jobs, the majority of which were from the restaurant industry, as states across the country have implemented reopening measures and added capacity levels.
But that boost was tampered by losses in sectors including temporary business help, courier and messenger jobs, manufacturing and retail.
The slow hiring growth occurred following the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill in March, which sent millions of Americans $1,400 stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment insurance.
Vaccination rates for Covid-19 also jumped in April, prompting economists to predict that they would accelerate the path to economic recovery.
But Democrats argue that the department’s report is a key indicator that the country is in need of more relief, as they are pushing for Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure and family package that would send American families additional aid.
A group of Democrats have also called on the White House to implement recurring $2,000 stimulus payments until the pandemic is over for Americans and families in desperate need of additional federal relief.
But Republicans, on the other hand, contend that the Labor Department’s findings is a gauge that the Biden administration’s leadership and legislative agenda is ruining the country’s ability to economically recover.
“This is the direct effect of the Biden administration paying people more NOT to work,” the Republican Study Committee, a conservative House caucus, tweeted on Friday.
Several GOP lawmakers have raised concerns over the White House’s rescue package, as it sent Americans and unemployed individuals massive amounts of federal aid, benefits that may have disincentivized people from returning back to work.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.