Here is the latest jobs report, as posted today, on USA Today.
Milder weather helped the labor market shake off a winter chill in April as employers added 223,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell from 5.5% to 5.4%, lowest since May 2008.
Economists surveyed by Action Economics expected payroll gains of 225,000, according to their median forecast. March gains were revised down to 85,000 from a previously reported 126,000, the Labor Department said Friday. February’s payroll gains were revised up by 2,000 to 266,000.
Businesses added 213,000 jobs on strong advances by four sectors. Last month, professional and business services added 62,000 jobs, while healthcare and construction each added 45,000. Federal, state and local governments added 10,000.
Mining employment continued to decline, falling by 15,000, as energy companies shed workers because of low crude oil prices.
Wage growth, sluggish throughout the recovery, ticked up a bit. Average hourly earnings increased 3 cents to $24.87 an hour. Over the past year, pay is up 2.2%, in line with previous tepid advances.
Some other signs were more encouraging. A broader measure of joblessness — which includes discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs and part-time employees who prefer full-time work as well as the unemployed — slipped to 10.8% from 10.9%.
And the number of Americans out of work at least six months fell by 38,000 to 2.5 million. They now make up 29% of all those unemployed.
Many economists expected the job market to bounce back after posting disappointing advances in March. Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said ahead of the report that an April rebound would show that a healthy labor market was shrugging off some speed bumps
Another disappointing showing, however, would point to a more worrisome slowdown, O’Sullivan said. Some economic reports highlighted those concerns. Payroll processor ADP said private employers added just 169,000 jobs last month compared with an average 236,000 over the prior 12 months. And a barometer of manufacturing payrolls was weak.
A strong dollar that’s hurting US manufacturers’ exports and cutbacks in energy company spending amid low oil prices could have more lasting effects on the economy and job growth this year, some economists say.