Employers added 223,000 jobs in April according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, below consensus expectations of 228,000, even as March’s weak payroll number was downwardly revised to an abysmal 85,000.
This pushed the three month average below replacement levels, and based on Federal Reserve comments before, means employment probably won't be pulling forward expectations for a rate hike.
The number of Americans not in the labor force rose to 93,194,000 from 93,175,000. This pushed the participation rate of 69.45%, the lowest rate since the valley of the mid-1970s.
“Today’s April jobs report suggests that the weak hiring in March was an aberration. The snapback in construction employment, the biggest gain since the start of 2014, supports our view that a weather-boost impact will show up in the current quarter economic growth,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. “The strengthening in overall hiring is in line with our forecast for a moderate rebound in economic activity, though not quite the bounce-back we saw a year ago, as the economy is facing more than just transitory headwinds. With today’s report, we are comfortable with our call for a September liftoff in the fed funds rate.
“While wage gains remain muted, reflected by the trend-like rise in average hourly earnings of little more than 2.0 percent, accelerating growth in broader measures, such as the Employment Cost Index and the continued decline in the unemployment rate, point to a tighter labor market,” Duncan said.
Details of the payroll data show a 45,000 rise in what has been a depressed construction sector, which has direct bearing on housing.
This is one of the largest monthly gains of the recovery and may point to springtime acceleration for construction and new housing.
Earnings data showed stagnant wage growth continues. Average hourly earnings were up only 0.1%.
The year-on-year rate is over the 2% line, at plus 2.2%. The Fed's generally stated inflation goal is 2%.
Among other details, the participation rate edged a minor 0.1% higher to 62.8.
There was the usual downtick in manufacturing hours, confirming a run of negative reports out of the sector during April. Manufacturing employment remained dormant for a 3rd month in row, up only 1,000.