Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
Nonfarm payroll employment grew by 290,000 in April, topping expectations for roughly a 200,000 gain. Census hiring inflated April’s figure by 66,000, but private payrolls still increased a healthy 231,000 when discounting the government’s boost. Revisions to February and March figures were solid as well, tacking on an additional 121,000 jobs and leaving those months’ respective gains at 39,000 and 230,000. Employment growth in April was broad-based. Jobs in goods-producing industries expanded by 65,000, and services expanded 166,000, its largest increase in over three years. The most impressive gains in the report came from manufacturing (44,000) and professional and business services (80,000), which received a helping hand yet again from temporary help hiring (26,000). Another bright spot was an increase in the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers, which climbed to 33.4 hours from 33.3 in March, and a 0.2 hour increase in factory overtime.
On the household side, the unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage point (pp) to 9.9 percent, defying expectations for a 0.1 pp decline. However, the rise should not be considered a strictly negative development because it reflects the largest influx of workers to the labor force (805,000) since January 2003. Labor force participation jumped up 0.3 pp to 65.2 percent in April (its fourth consecutive increase), and the employment-to-population ratio also continued to improve, ticking up 0.2 pp to 58.8 percent.