The U.S. economy added 211,000 non-farm payroll positions in April, according to today's monthly employment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This seasonally adjusted figure marks a 37.90 percent increase from a year prior, when 153,000 jobs were added, and a 167.08 percent gain from March's downwardly revised addition of 79,000 jobs and significantly exceeds economists' already lofty expectation of 188,000 jobs.
Last month, the unemployment rate dropped to a 10-year low—4.5 percent. The April report has surpassed that benchmark (as well as economists' expectation of a slight tick up), with unemployment dropping further to 4.4 percent. As we come closer to reaching full employment, it's anticipated that job creation will slow and wages will rise more significantly.
In December, average hourly earnings made the largest 12-month gain since 2009, but have grown at a more measured rate over the past the past three months. On average, employees on private non-farm payrolls saw their hourly earnings increase 0.7 percent, or $0.07, to $26.19 in April, a larger gain than a month prior, when wages increased 0.2 percent. Wages are now 2.5 percent higher than a year prior—when average weekly earnings were $25.54—and are another indication of a tightening job market. The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent in April, has remained largely unchanged over the past year. According to Eric Morath of The Wall Street Journal, this partially reflects an aging population, but Morath speculates whether continued wage growth will be enough to entice Americans to re-enter the labor market.
Job growth in the construction industry has ebbed considerably since February, when 54,000 positions were added. In April, 5,000 jobs were added, but residential subsectors saw losses. Residential construction employment decreased by 2,700, while the biggest job gains in the industry were seen in heavy and civil engineering construction (up 4,300 jobs), and nonresidential construction (up 4,000 jobs).
Momentum in the manufacturing industry has also slowed since February (when 22,000 position were added), but not as significantly as the construction industry. In April, 6,000 manufacturing jobs were added, primarily in the manufacturing of motor vehicles and parts in the durable goods sector, which increased employment by 2,800. Meanwhile, payrolls in the architectural and engineering services added 2,100 positions in April, marking the sixth consecutive month of growth.
Read the full release here.
From the BLS' historical data release: The BLS also releases detailed information subsets of key markets with a one-month lag, in this case offering more detailed information of the architectural and engineering services category's response to the broader economy's hiring slowdown, which began in June. The charts below highlight a monthly job-growth breakdown of the architectural services, landscape architectural services, and engineering and drafting services between January 2016 and January 2017. Details of these subcategories' performance in January will be revealed in next month's historical data release.