The unemployment rate in April edged up to 9.0%, compared with 8.8% in March 2011.
Construction employment was about unchanged in April, according to Friday's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This industry has shown little net movement since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the prior three years.
Overall, the economy added 244,000 jobs in April, a higher gain than anticipated by analysts.
The latest employment situation shows 13.7 million unemployed persons in the United States, about the same as last month's measure. The number of persons unemployed for less than five weeks increased by 242,000 in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 283,000 to 5.8 million; their share of unemployment declined to 43.4%.