US jobs make a comeback, unemployment rate drops to the lowest in a decade

The US economy added 211,000 jobs in April, rebounding after an unexpectedly weak month, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Economists had forecast that nonfarm payrolls rose by 190,000, according to Bloomberg.

The bounce in jobs growth confirmed that the slowdown in March was a weather-related aberration, said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets for Citizens Bank.

“Businesses are certainly hiring and there’s no sign that we see of any bump in the road in hiring trends,” he told Business Insider.

The gains in March were revised down by 19,000 jobs to 79,000.

The unemployment rate in April fell to 4.4%, the lowest since May 2007, suggesting that the economy was even closer to full employment — a situation in which most people who looked for a job found one. The U-6 unemployment rate, a broader measure that includes people who are working part-time for economic reasons, fell to 8.6%, the lowest since November 2007.

After two months of declines, the retail sector added 6,300 jobs. But the losses may not be over, as roughly 3,500 stores are expected to close over the next few months with retail giants like Macy’s and JCPenney shuttering locations. Department stores, for example, shed 600 jobs even as the broader sector increased hiring.

Wage growth slowed last month, with average hourly earnings increasing by 2.5% year-on-year, down from 2.6%. Labour-force participation also slipped, to 62.9% from 63%. The share of American civilians over 16 working or looking for a job has plunged since the recession An August 2015 analysis by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers suggests that about half of the drop comes from structural, demographic factors: the baby boomers, an immensely large cohort of Americans, are getting older and starting to retire.

More to come …

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