National Jobs Report
Real time jobs report data summary. Figures are based on the latest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov). All jobs numbers are for non-farm employment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 164,000 new non-farm payroll jobs were added to the economy during April. While this is roughly 30,000 fewer than expectations, the national unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent for the first time since 2000.
The largest job gains were seen among professional services, healthcare and manufacturing. Taken over the past year, these industries along with hospitality and construction have seen the greatest growth.
The last time the unemployment rate was below 4 percent, the Dot-com Bubble burst soon after. The justifiable caution fostered by that event has contributed to less business investment and sluggish wage growth this time around. Wages increased only 2.6 percent over the year. However, inflation is inching towards the Fed’s 2 percent target, stock volatility has been kept in check and the dollar has strengthened by 0.3 percent after a year-long decline.
Concerning the unemployment rate, Robert Frick, chief economist with Navy Federal Credit Union, was quoted by CNN Money: “The employment situation continues to surprise everyone…Getting down to 3.9 is quite a marker.” Despite how low 3.9 percent sounds, Frick believes that it could drop further still. “There’s still hundreds of thousands of more people who will enter the workforce,” he said. “I think we can get down to 3.5 percent.” This sentiment was echoed by James McCann, a senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments: “Over coming quarters, the unemployment rate is expected to fall to a cycle low of 3.5% – a level not seen since the late 1960s.”
The Wall Street Journal quoted Eric Winograd, senior economist at AB, on the tepid wage growth, “In general, we would expect to see higher wages and less hiring at this stage in business cycle. That we have seen neither is a good sign for the economy—it suggests that there remain workers who can be hired and thus limits the probability that wage increases will push inflation markedly higher.” Over the past year, finance has been the clear leader in weekly wage growth.
The April jobs numbers are good news for new high-school graduates seeking entry-level jobs and soft skills like “patience, teamwork, perseverance, and communication.” Steve Odland and Cindy Cisneros of CNBC, quoting surveys from The Wall Street Journal of executives and from CareerBuilder of HR and hiring managers, found that soft skills are both universally prized among both groups as much as technical skills and are increasingly hard to find among job applicants. These skills are best taught in “internship and apprenticeship–type programs.”
BLS.gov cannot vouch for the data or analyses derived from these data after the data have been retrieved from BLS.gov. The BLS defines a sector as a subset of the domestic economy and excludes the economic activities of the following: general government, private households, and nonprofit organizations serving individuals. A sector consists of multiple industries. The BLS defines an industry as a group of establishments that produce similar products or provide similar services. Multiple industries makeup sectors.