U.S. unemployment rate drops in April, 164000 jobs added

06 May, 2018, 14:31 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Unemployment drops, but wage growth remains sluggish

Despite falling short of expectations, the numbers represent a rebound from the previous month: The initial report for March had said only 103,000 jobs were added.

Mickey Levy of Berenberg Capital Markets called the jobs report a "mixed bag" but said the unbroken string of hiring was "impressive". Hospitals added 8,000 jobs in April compared to the 9,900 they added in March. There has been an increase in reports of employers, especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors, struggling to find qualified workers.

Here are some early comments from economists about the April jobs report, which showed the US adding 164,000 jobs and unemployment falling to 3.9% - the first time the jobless rate has dropped below 4% since the end of 2000. Jobless claims are in for last week and Americans receiving unemployment aid has dropped to the lowest number since March 1973.

In all, the number of people receiving aid dropped 77,000 to 1.26 million after April 21.

Meanwhile, the participation rate slipped 0.1 percentage point to 62.8 percent, erasing part of an outsize gain from February that had indicated workers were being pulled in from the sidelines, Labor Department figures showed Friday. Continuing a trend that has been present for much of this cycle, policy makers are likely to further reduce their estimate of the longer-run unemployment rate in the near term.

Longer-dated US Treasury yields fell after the data.

Average hourly pay for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 4 cents, to $26.84.

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- "It may be surprising that wage pressures are not more pronounced with joblessness now below 4%".

An encouraging sign for the economy is that the pace of hiring has yet to be disrupted by dramatic global market swings, a recent pickup in inflation or the risk that the tariffs being pushed by President Donald Trump.

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Economists interpreted symmetric to mean policymakers would not be too anxious with inflation overshooting the target. It could increase the chance of faster interest rate hikes. A decreasing unemployment rate would seem to be good news! "The unemployment rate fell because you had people leaving the labor force", she added. That, together with a shortage of skilled workers, should put upward pressure on wages in the months ahead, economists say.

There are nearly 95 million people not in the workforce, including those over the age of 16 who don't work and are now not looking for work, mostly because they study, are ill, retired, or homemakers (pdf).

Although some businesses say the lack of available talent thwarts their growth, the US has experienced a steady hiring streak this year, adding an average of 202,000 new positions each month.

Manufacturing added 24,000 jobs, up from a gain of 22,000 in March. One out of five jobs in Alaska is a government job, for a total of more than 81,000 Alaskans working for local, state, or federal agencies.


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