Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Economy Watch: Employment Gain More Modest in April

This year the economy has added an average of 202,000 jobs each month This year the economy has added an average of 202,000 jobs each month
Lloyd Bates | 05 May, 2018, 13:23

Many employers say it's become hard to find qualified workers.

This signals that there's more slack in the U.S. labor market than the unemployment rate indicates.

Employers added 164,000 jobs in April, lower than what economists had forecast of 190,000 new positions. "It's basically the same report we've had for the last five years, which in the past has been viewed unambiguously as good news".

This number has been declining in recent years-a hint that more people who had given up on finding a job are now trying again and succeeding.

"Jobs in the U.S are doing so well", President Donald Trump tweeted this morning, "Americans receiving unemployment aid is the lowest since 1973".

The Labor Department says America's unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in April.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, dropped to 7.8 percent last month, the lowest level since July 2001, from 8.0 percent in March.

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Inflation has shown signs of accelerating slightly, eroding some of the potential wage growth.

"There's anecdotal evidence where we see employers who in areas with labor shortages are turning to groups that they wouldn't usually have turned to", said Catherine Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

It gets worse when you add the recently released first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data - which showed cooling expansion and anemic consumer economic activity.

Even so, the vast majority of American workers still aren't reaping big rewards from the tightest labor market in nearly two decades. "Those with the least qualifications are being lifted the last, but now that the labor market is that tight, it's happening". Some of the top industries were professional and business services. The rate had been at 4.1% for the past six months.

"Here's a great stat - since January 2017, the number of people forced to use food stamps is down 1.9 million". The rate dropped for high school graduates, college graduates and people with some college. The dip can be misleading, however.

Labor force participation, which measures the share of the working-age population that is either employed or looking for work, actually ticked down for the second month in a row. "There is no need to speed up the path of interest rates because inflation isn't heating up in a worrisome manner".

"Wages haven't been able to break out of the 2.5% to 2.8% range", Panday said.

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