The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in April, hitting the lowest level since December 2000, as employers picked up the pace of hiring by adding 164,000 jobs.
Wider measures of unemployment also declined last month, including the broadest rate of underemployment that includes those so discouraged that they have stopped looking for work and part-time workers who want full-time work. That broad rate reached the lowest level since 2001.
Wage growth slowed from last month, both weekly and hourly. Because inflation has also been picking up, real wage growth is close to disappearing.
The pace at which the economy has been adding jobs, though slower than in 2015, has accelerated somewhat this year.
The share of Americans in the labor market declined slightly last month, as did the share of Americans with jobs.
Even among workers ages 25 to 54, participation in the labor market fell slightly last month, although both measures have been generally trending upward in recent years.
Fewer people are unemployed due to a permanent layoff. Most of the unemployed are new entrants or re-entrants to the labor market who have not yet found work, such as after time away for schooling or to care for family.
Unemployment rates have continued to decline for workers of different races and genders.
The black unemployment rate reached a new record low this month.
The median spell of unemployment lasts 9.8 weeks, up slightly from the start of the year but significantly improved from the worst months after the recession.
Unemployment rates have generally trended downward for workers with different levels of education. The unemployment rate jumped this month for workers with less than a high-school education.
Professional and business services have continued to lead job growth, followed by health care. The information industry is the only one with significant job losses. Note that the retail industry, after declining in 2017, has returned to adding jobs.
Wage growth has been steady across most industries, with the finance industry seeing the strongest wage gains, followed by construction.