April Jobs Report: 211000 Jobs Added, Unemployment At 4.4 Percent

The decline reflected both an increase in hiring and people leaving the labor force.

"Businesses are finding it more hard to hire, and they're responding by raising pay", Gus Faucher, chief economist of the PNC Financial Services Group, said ahead of the the latest labor report. This sets the Fed up for another rate hike in June.

US gross domestic product expanded at its slowest pace in three years in the first quarter, a figure economists largely attributed to persistent measurement issues.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rates unchanged but signaled it may persist with an expected course of rate increases during the year, in large part due to strong job creation and low unemployment.

Government payrolls jumped 17,000 last month. The U-6 has seen significant improvement in that time, but still remains higher than before the recession. Average weekly hours worked edged up by 0.1 to 34.4 and average hourly earnings were up by 0.26 percent, which translates to annual growth of 3.3 percent; in short, solid real wage growth. That's actually a slowdown from recent months, when wages had been rising at a 2.7 percent clip. The unemployment rate hasn't been this low since May 2007-and that matched the lowest rate of any point during the prior expansion. That could also push up wages. The number is a sharp rebound from March, when fewer than 100,000 jobs were created.


They appeared to back the argument that weak economic growth in the first quarter was a blip.

Construction payrolls rose 5,000 last month and manufacturing employment advanced by 6,000 jobs. These were concentrated in less productive, lower paying fields, with leisure and hospitality leading the way with 55,000 positions. Retailers including J.C. Penney Co.

Employers added 211,000 jobs in April as the jobless rate ticked down to 4.4 percent, the lowest level since May 2007. Economists had forecast that the Department of Labor report would show hiring had picked up in April to between 180,000 and 200,000 after a sharp drop in March.

"The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, changed little in April and has shown little movement over the past year", the Labor Department agency says.

The employment-to-population ratio rose one-tenth of percentage point to a fresh eight-year high of 60.2 percent.


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