The U.S. unemployment rate tumbled to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March. And rates fell for nearly every demographic group, though not always for encouraging reasons.
College graduates had a positive month: Their unemployment rate slipped a tenth of a percentage point to 3.3 percent. Their rate declined because 81,000 more of them found jobs in April.
The unemployment rate plunged for adult high school drop-outs to 8.9 percent from 9.6 percent. But April was a cruel period for them: The number of employed high school drop-outs fell to 9.9 million from 10.1 million. More than 200,000 of them lost jobs.
Their unemployment rate fell because even more of them — 308,000 — retired, gave up their search or never started looking for work. That's a huge negative.
The overall unemployment rate fell primarily because fewer people started looking for work in April. More than 4 million Americans typically do so each month. But in April, only 3.7 million did.
That caused the number of people either working or looking for work to shrink, which, in turn, contributed to lower unemployment rates.
|Unemployment rate by group:|
|(Numbers in percentages)||April 2014||March 2014||April 2013|
|20-24 years old||10.6||12.2||13.1|
|25-54 years old||5.4||5.7||6.3|
|55 and over||4.7||4.7||5.5|
|Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*||6.8||6.9||7.5|
|No high school diploma||8.9||9.6||11.5|
|High school graduate||6.3||6.3||7.5|
|Duration of Unemployment:|
|Average length (weeks)||35.1||35.6||36.6|
|Jobless 6 months of more (pct.)||35.3||35.8||37.4|
|* Not seasonally adjusted|
|Source: Labor Department|