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At 160,000 April’s Job Gains Slowed from Recent Pace


The Labor Department reported that nonfarm employment increased by 160,000 positions in April, less than the 200,000 positions consensus projection. Over the past 12 months, monthly job increases have averaged 232,000.    Employment increased in in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Job losses continued in mining.   The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from 245,000 to 233,000, and the change for March was revised from 215,000 to 208,000.


In April, health care employment rose by 44,000. Over the year, health care employment has increased by 502,000.

The unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0% in April, the same as in March.  The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 7.9 million. Both measures have shown slight movement since August.

The wider measure of unemployment, the U-6 measure, fell to 9.7% from 9.8% in March. This measure of unemployment includes those workers in part-time positions or too discouraged to look for work.  The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 150,000 to 2.1 million in April and accounted for 25.7% of the unemployed.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents to $25.53 in April, following a 6-cent decline in March. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5%.  This measure of wage growth continues to be relatively weak, despite the tightening in the labor force. 


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

It’s likely that the Federal Reserve will regard this report as an indication of a slowing domestic economy.  The April jobs number along with the weak GDP number reported for the first quarter (a gain of 0.5% at an annualized rate) will give pause to the Fed as it considers raising interest rates at its June 14-15th FOMC meeting. 


Topics: Research

About the Author

Beth Burnham Mace

Beth Burnham Mace is the Chief Economist and Director of Outreach at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Prior to joining the staff at NIC, she served as a member of the NIC Board of Directors for seven years and chaired NIC’s Research Committee. Ms. Mace was also a Director at AEW Capital Management and worked in the AEW Research Group for 17 years. Prior to joining AEW in 1997, Ms. Mace spent ten years at Standard & Poor’s DRI/McGraw-Hill as the Director of the Regional Information Service. She also worked as a Regional Economist at Crocker Bank, the National Commission on Air Quality, the Brookings Institution and Boston Edison.

Ms. Mace is a member of the National Association of Business Economists (NABE), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), ULI’s Senior Housing Council and New England Women in Real Estate (NEWIRE/CREW). In 2014, she was appointed a fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute and was awarded the title of a “Woman of Influence” in commercial real estate by Real Estate Forum Magazine and Globe Street. Ms. Mace is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A.) and the University of California (M.S.). She has also earned The Certified Business Economist™ title (CBE) from the National Association of Business Economists (NABE). Ms. Mace is often cited in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Seniors Housing Business, Seniors Housing News and McKnight’s Senior Living and has a bi-monthly column in the National Real Estate Investor.
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