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Unemployment plateaus in April

CareerBuilder | May 12, 2021

CareerBuilder jobs data

What will it take to break the 6% unemployment floor?

The leisure and hospitality industry picked up an encouraging number of jobs in April, but employment declines in other areas kept the overall unemployment level at a stubborn 6.1%, where it has hovered the last few months, according to the latest federal jobs report. And with 9.8 million people unemployed, we’re still far, far away from pre-pandemic levels. Still, we’re in much better shape than we were last year; in April 2020, over 23.1 million people were out of work. Read on for a breakdown of the latest unemployment data and the top jobs and industries to join right now.


Unemployment by the numbers 

Overall unemployment: 6.1% 

  • Men: 6.1% 
  • Women: 5.6% 
  • White workers: 5.3%
  • Asian workers: 5.7% 
  • Hispanic workers: 7.9% 
  • Black workers: 9.7% 


Top jobs

Truckers are still, well, truckin’, maintaining their lead in job postings this month. These jobs also remain in high demand:

Registered nurse jobs (Looking to lend a healing hand as an RN? Use our sample entry-level nursing resume to land your next position.)

Software developer jobs

Retail salespeople jobs

First-line retail supervisor jobs


Who’s hiring?

Administrative and support services, an umbrella term covering everyone from pest control workers to personal assistants, remains the top industry, followed by the bouncing-back retail trade. Here are other top industries hiring now:

Healthcare and social assistance jobs

Professional, scientific, and technical services jobs

Transportation and warehousing jobs

What’s up with retail?

As more Americans get vaccinated and COVID restrictions start to relax, the recovering retail trade industry is seeing gains and losses at the same time. Food and beverage stores, general merchandise stores, and gas stations all declined in April, perhaps indicating that Americans are still wary of dining and travel during the pandemic. But they’re certainly not worried about doubling down on the hobbies they picked up during lockdown. Sporting-goods stores, book and music stores, and other hobby-related retailers all picked up workers last month. Clothing stores also saw significant gains. Maybe all that time seeing ourselves on Zoom meetings has us reconsidering our wardrobes? Or maybe it’s time for a new job interview outfit.

Tips for job seekers:

If you’re able, volunteer! It’ll help you learn new skills, get to know your community, and build your network. Here’s how volunteering makes you stand out as a job candidate.

Lead with your skills. Employers want to know what you can do, not just where you’ve been. Add your skills to the top of your resume. Here’s how they’ll get you hired.

Consider STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). With the professional, scientific, and technical services industry on the rise, there’s never been a better time to think about putting those math whiz skills to work. Here are the STEM jobs you need to know about.

Take a breather. Finding a new job can be incredibly stressful. We can help with that.