The United States economy lost 539,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but the decline was the smallest in six months. The job losses were widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries and brought the national unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, the highest level since September 1983. Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has shed approximately 5.7 million jobs. Manufacturing employers cut 149,000 jobs; since September 2008, the sector has lost 1.2 million. Within manufacturing, the heaviest declines were in transportation equipment (34,000), fabricated metal products (29,000), and machinery (22,000). In other sectors, construction employment dropped by 110,000; business and professional services by 122,000; financial services by 40,000; and transportation and warehousing by 38,000. Healthcare employment grew by 17,000 jobs; government employment increased by 66,000 jobs, largely due to the hiring of temporary workers for the 2010 Census. The Labor Department also revised its March unemployment figure to 699,000 jobs lost.