The U.S. economy added a modest 160,000 private, non-farm payroll positions in April, according to the latest monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released today. The seasonally adjusted figure is a 23.1 percent drop from March's downward–revised addition of 208,000 jobs, and represents the weakest hiring month since September 2015. The results mirror the April ADP employment index that ARCHITECT reported on earlier this week, which is used by economists to forecast the BLS figure. Still, the average hourly earnings for private non-farm employees continued to climb in April, a much-awaited sign of progress in the labor market.
“Employment was never going to continue rising at more than 200,000 a month indefinitely,” explains Capital Economics’ chief North American economist, Paul Ashworth, in his response to today's BLS figure that was reported by The Wall Street Journal. “Those monthly gains are simply unsustainable in an economy with a potential economic growth rate of less than 2 percent.”
The national unemployment rate held at 5.0 percent, while labor-force participation dipped to 62.8 percent in April.
The Architectural and Engineering Services sector lost 3,000 jobs in April, while Construction held steady from March with the addition of 1,000 jobs, and a struggling Manufacturing sector added 4,000 jobs during the period.
In addition to its monthly economic health report, the BLS also released information on subsets of key markets with a one-month lag. Below, we have broken out the Architectural Services, Landscape Architectural Services, and Engineering and Drafting Services sectors from the Architectural and Engineering Services category and illustrated their change from March 2015 to March 2016.