Magazine article Economic Trends

Labor Markets

Magazine article Economic Trends

Labor Markets

Article excerpt

Nonfarm payroll growth was slightly less vigorous in April than earlier this year: Employment increased by 138,000 jobs, less than the expected 200,000 and below the average monthly gain of 171,000 jobs over the previous 12 months. Employment gains for February and March were revised down a combined 36,000 jobs.

The service-providing sector, which generally accounts for about four-fifths of monthly employment gains, added 101,000 jobs in April, down from its average increase of 174,000 jobs in the preceding two months. Gains were solid in the education and health services industry (35,000) and robust in the financial activities industry (26,000). Although job growth in business services and in leisure and hospitality has decelerated since March, these industries still added 28,000 and 20,000 jobs, respectively, in April. On the other hand, retail employment decreased by about 36,000 jobs, more than offsetting the 23,000 job gain in March. Meanwhile, the goods-producing sector posted a net increase of 37,000 jobs in April, more than the average monthly increase of 26,000 jobs over the previous 12 months. Manufacturing added 19,000 jobs net, its highest monthly gain in nearly two years, primarily because of a 13,900 gain in the transportation sector.

The unemployment rate, which has fallen nearly 1/2 percentage point over the past year, remained steady in April at 4.7%, and the employment-to-population ratio stayed at 63.0. Meanwhile, the number of people working part time for economic reasons fell to its lowest level (3. …

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