Economy Watch: Job Creation Slows Down in April

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report revealed a lower number of jobs created this month than in March, but there was some good news about wages.
Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. economy created a net of 160,000 new jobs in April and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, which represents a slowdown from recent months, though not recessionary numbers. Over the prior 12 months, employment growth has averaged 232,000 per month.

Sectors of the economy that affect the absorption of office space are still adding jobs at a reasonable rate. For example, professional and business services added 65,000 jobs in April, which is better than the sector’s average of 51,000 jobs per month over the previous 12 months. There were also gains in April in management and technical consulting services (up 21,000) and in computer systems design and related services.

The change in total payroll employment for February was revised from a gain of 245,000 to 233,000, and the change for March was revised from a gain of 215,000 to 208,000. With these revisions, employment gains during the two months combined were 19,000 less than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 200,000 per month.

Despite the slow job totals, the BLS also had a bit of good news about wages. In April, average hourly earnings for all employees increased by 8 cents to $25.53, following an increase of 6 cents in March. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent, which isn’t terrific, but it is better than most of the months in 2015, and beating the rate of inflation.