Life is Good: Jobs Grow and Unemployment Declines in April


Employers added 164,000 jobs, slightly below what economists were expecting but better than a comparatively sluggish March.

US unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent last month, well within the range considered to be full employment by federal agencies that monitor such data. The labour-force participation rate - the percentage of people who are now employed or in search of a job - fell for the second straight month to 62.8 per cent.

The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 5.0 million in April. The number of service-producing jobs grew by 119,000 in April with the largest number of these jobs coming from professional and business services, up 54,000, and education and health services, up 31,000. 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. That's down from 339,500 jobs from February, revised BLS estimates show. They clocked in at just 2.6 percent over last year's levels (below the expected 2.7 percent print).

Part of the April drop in the rate was due to more people leaving the workforce. Still, the data will probably keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates in June for the second time this year and once or twice more after that in 2018.

The U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest since 2000, but Donald Trump's flirting with trade wars might jeopardize the economic growth. Over the past three months, monthly job growth has averaged 208,000.

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Overall, the unemployment rate remains at its lowest point since December 2000.

"We believe the USA labor market remains on solid footing", Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said in a note before the report. That means the at full employment - and that wages should be going up.

"Despite rising trade tensions, more volatile financial markets, and poor weather, businesses are adding a robust more than 200,000 jobs per month". Factories remained a bright spot, adding 24,000 workers to payrolls.

Wages for nonfarm jobs in the US were on the rise in April, with average hourly earnings increasing by 6 cents to $26.84.