Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 160,000 in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest employment report, released Friday. The unemployment rate remained at 5 percent.
Though the labor market continues to grow jobs, this was the weakest gain since September and remarkably lower than Wall Street’s prediction of 202,000 jobs added – and even further below Goldman Sachs’ prediction of 240,000.
And though the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 150,000 to 2.1 million, the labor force participation rate also decreased – to 62.8 percent.
One major highlight from the jobs report is that average hourly wages, which rose an average of 8 cents per hour in April, are up 2.5 percent from a year ago.
The number of discouraged workers is also down from a year ago (568,000 today versus 380,000 in 2015).
Taking a look at where specifically growth is (or isn’t) happening, professional and business services added the most jobs with 65,000 jobs added. Health care and financial activities also added jobs (44,000 and 20,000 respectively).
Meanwhile, mining lost 7,000 jobs, and other major categories “showed little or no change.”
While the report is weaker than expected, economists say this is no cause for alarm. According to HFE economist Jim O’Sullivan, the unemployment rate is likely to continue its downward trend, and Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth indicated the lower jobs number was inevitable. “Employment was never going to continue rising at more than 200,000 a month indefinitely,” Ashworth wrote.
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