The federal government’s latest snapshot of the unemployment rate offered few bright spots on Friday. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April—slightly better than March’s revised number of 138,000 jobs. Unemployment went down one percentage point to 7.5 percent, and health care, retail trade, and the food services industry added positions.
The glaring caveat to this jobs report is the huge number of Americans who remain out of the workforce. Called the labor force participation rate in wonk speak, that number held steady in April at 63.3 percent: the lowest level since 1979.