The Labor Department released on Friday its April jobs report and succeeded in disappointing investors. Hiring continued its slow down during April, as only 115,000 new jobs were added to employer’s payrolls. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate was down to 8.1% for April. The rate going down was not because so many people found work, but because more workers dropped out of the work force.
The Labor Department revised the job growth figures for March from 120,000 to 154,000 but that did not help the overall outlook. The economy is moving forward but at very slow snail’s pace. The new report also suggests that the milder that normal winter may have given a false increase in payrolls, resulting in a current correction trend.
The job growth that did take place in April was from manufacturing’s continued strength, which added over 16,000 new jobs, and professional services like engineering, computer systems design and architecture. However, the majority of new jobs came in the industries that pay lower wages: retail hiring rebounded, food services were up and temporary help increased.
Jobs lost were in the warehousing and transportation sectors that combined lost 17,000 for the month and in government where over 15,000 jobs were lost. Overall wages were stagnant as average earnings in all private sector businesses were up just one penny in April to an average of $23.38 per hour. That was 1.8% higher than the figure for last year in April. It was below the current inflation rate. A leading indicator of how the jobs market is doing is the length of the average workweek, which was unchanged at 34.5 hours for April.