Economy Adds 164K New Jobs While Unemployment Dips

5 things to watch in the April jobs report

The unemployment rate in the US fell to the lowest level since December 2000, amounting to 3.9%.

The numbers: The economy generated a solid 164,000 jobs in April to push the unemployment rate below 4% for the first time since Bill Clinton was president, a sign the surging labor market shows no signs ebbing.

This number has been declining in recent years-a hint that more people who had given up on finding a job are now trying again and succeeding.

The Labor Department revised figures for March, with employers adding 135,000 jobs in March - nearly 30,000 more than previously estimated. He notes that employers are having an increasingly hard time finding qualified workers, creating pressure for them to raise wages. According to the Wall Street Journal, it has happened, "only a few times over the past 70 years - during the Korean War in the early 1950s, during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and during the tech boom of 2000".

But average hourly earnings could be understating wage inflation. Over the past year, wages have come up by an average of 67 cents, or 2.6 percent. However, wage growth was weaker than expected. Furthermore, this year's gains have remained robust, with a remarkable average of 200,000 jobs added per month, even stronger than last year's average of 182,000.

Unemployment in the USA hit a post Great Recession landmark, according to figures released Friday, while a separate report showed increased factory orders but declining capital investment for new factory equipment.

The mining sector added 8,000 jobs, extending its gains.

There had been a flawless storm of economic indicators building, as evidenced by the tight labor market, corporate America reporting solid earnings growth in the first quarter and more robust hiring in Q1 0218 versus Q1 2017, at 202,000 vs. 182,000, respectively. "Slack is getting absorbed" but "the process of that translating into faster wages has been slow". The economy needs to create roughly 120,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

Economists expect the unemployment rate will drop to 3.5 percent by the end of the year. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

The low unemployment rate means that the still-depressed levels of participation in the work force are hard to chalk up to a shortage of jobs. Eight years ago, the jobless rate was 10 percent. Many economists saw the April jobs report as confirming that forecast.

The US central bank on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged and said it expected annual inflation to run close to its "symmetric" 2 per cent target over the medium term.

"The April jobs report was lukewarm", Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said.

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