April Jobs Report Less Robust than Expected
JOB GROWTH: Employment grew by 160,000 in April, down from last month and a year ago, but still a sign of forward momentum. While the April growth reflects the lowest gain in seven months, over the past three months, job gains have averaged 200,000 per month.
TOP INDUSTRIES: Employment was up in professional and business services, health care and financial activities. Job losses continued in mining.
UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, showing little movement over the past seven months.
WAGES: Paychecks were healthier in April, with average hourly earnings up 0.3 percent. Over the past 12 months, pay has risen 2.5 percent.
WORK WEEK: The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by six minutes to 34.5 hours in April.
TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: Temporary staffing jobs increased by 9,300 in April, matching growth in March (after an upward adjustment that added 5,300 more temp jobs than initially reported). Temp jobs as a percent of total employment rose slightly, reaching 2.9 million, up 2.3 percent year-over-year.
SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? While job gains in April are a bit disappointing, a look behind the numbers indicates a surge in hiring in business and professional “white collar” jobs. This is a more significant indicator of positive momentum than the larger gains posted recently in lower-paying retail jobs. While hiring may be less robust than desired, the unemployment rate held steady, wages are trending up and the economy continues to move in the right direction.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Bloomberg, MSN.com, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CNN Money, Staffing Industry Analysts