Conditions in the labor market have continued to improve. The unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in April, about 1-1/4 percentage points below where it was a year ago. Moreover, gains in payroll employment averaged nearly 200,000 jobs per month over the past year. During the economic recovery so far, payroll employment has increased by about 8-1/2 million jobs since its low point, and the unemployment rate has declined about 3-3/4 percentage points since its peak.
While conditions in the labor market have improved appreciably, they are still far from satisfactory. Even with recent declines in the unemployment rate, it continues to be elevated. Moreover, both the share of the labor force that has been unemployed for more than six months and the number of individuals who work part time but would prefer a full-time job are at historically high levels. In addition, most measures of labor compensation have been rising slowly–another signal that a substantial amount of slack remains in the labor market.
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