April's Sluggish Jobs Numbers

The U.S. Department of Labor released its Employment Situation numbers for the month of April early on Friday. The Bloomberg consensus estimate was 191,000 nonfarm payrolls, but it actually came in lower at 164,000. The unemployment rate more or less hit the mark at 3.9%, just below the expected 4.0%.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women decreased to 3.5% in April. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7%), teenagers (12.9%), whites (3.6%), blacks (6.6%), Asians (2.8%), and Hispanics (4.8%) showed little or no change over the month.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was essentially unchanged at 5.0 million in April.

In April, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 172,000 from a year earlier. Among the marginally attached, there were 408,000 discouraged workers in April, little changed from a year earlier.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in April, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months. In April, job gains occurred in professional and business services (+54,000), manufacturing (+24,000), health care (+24,000) and mining (+8,000).

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April. Also, the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by four cents to $26.84.

Looking back at the past two reports, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down from +326,000 to +324,000, and the change for March was revised up from +103,000 to +135,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were +30,000 more than previously reported.