The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in April, outpacing the median estimate of 190,000 jobs, according to The New York Times, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, the lowest it’s been since December 1969.
Here are some of the highlights from the report.
1. Historically low unemployment
The unemployment rate reached its lowest point in half a century at 3.6%, but analysts are quick to point out that this unexpected drop is largely related to a similar drop in the labor force participation rate.
MarketWatch: “The unemployment rate, meanwhile, slipped to 3.6% from 3.8% in March, marking the lowest level since December 1969, the Labor Department said. The decline in April stemmed from nearly a half-million workers dropping out of the labor force, but by the any measure, layoffs and unemployment are scraping a 50-year low.”
The New York Times: “As good as the dip in the unemployment rate looks, the factors behind it aren’t as hopeful as the headline number itself. There was a big drop in the number of people who said they were looking for work. The labor-force participation rate, which measures the share of people 16 and older who are employed or seeking a job, fell to 62.8 percent, from 63 percent in March.”
2. Wage growth falls short of expectations
Business Insider: “Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2% in April, just below the 0.3% rise economists were expecting. Wages rose by 3.2% from the same period last year.”
Fox Business: “Average hourly earnings – which investors were closely watching for signs of inflation – rose by 6 cents to $27.77. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by about 3.2 percent, slightly missing expectations of 3.3 percent.”
Vox: “Slow income growth has been the weakest part of the US economy in its recovery from the Great Recession. Wages have barely kept up with the cost of living, even as the unemployment rate dropped and the economy expanded. April’s 6-cent average hourly wage hike suggests more of the same, despite a surprising 10-cent jump in February.”
3. Most industries saw job growth
The Washington Post: “Hiring was strong across most sectors with especially large gains in business services (76,000 jobs added), construction (33,000 jobs added) and health care (27,000 jobs added).”
USA Today: “Manufacturing, which has been hurt by the global slowdown and U.S. trade standoff with China, added just 4,000. And retailers, beset by a long-standing shift by shoppers to online purchases, lost 12,000 jobs.
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