WASHINGTON — The nation's unemployment rate remained stuck at 7.3% in April for the third straight month as new jobs in construction, medical and business services offset losses at factories and farms, the Labor Department said today.
(In the Los Angeles area, unemployment jumped to 7.6% in April from 6.5% in March, while the rate for all of California rose, to 7.3% from 6.9% a month ago.
(The figures have been "bouncing around" in recent months and it is difficult to detect a trend, said Mike Cimini of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in Sacramento.)
The size of the nationwide work force and the number of people unemployed--8.4 million--remained the same as it was in March while construction trades added 70,000 of the 215,000 new jobs created during the month.
Electrical, Computer Losses
But factories lost 45,000 more jobs, most of them in the electrical and computer industries, to bring to 130,000 the jobs in manufacturing that have disappeared since December.
The unemployment rate on farms shot up to 13.1% in April from 12.2% the month before, after one of the weakest months for farm exports in recent years.
The figures confirmed an overall slowdown in the economy as well as the continuing damage that industry is suffering because of attractively priced imports. In the last year the economy has created 2.5 million jobs--a spectacular performance when compared with European economies--but that was little more than half the 4.8 million jobs generated by the American economy in the previous 12-month period.
Although the unemployment rate has dropped as low as 7.1% in November and was as high as 7.5% in two months of 1984, the average figure has hovered around 7.3%.
Slight Teen-Age Gain
The major categories of workers showed little if any change. The rate for men inched up to 6.3% from March's 6.2% and that for women also moved up one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.8%.
The rate for teen-agers improved slightly, moving down to 17.7% from 18.2%.
The jobless rate for white workers was up a bit to 6.3% from 6.2%, and black and Latino workers also saw the rate climb one-tenth of a point, to 15.3% and 10.3% respectively.
Joblessness for black teen-agers, at 39%, was somewhat improved from March's 41.9%.