The jobs report crushed expectations, coming in at 288,000. Expectations were for 218,000. Last month’s figure was revised upward to 203,000 from 192,000.
- Private payrolls hit 273,000, also well above the 215,000 estimate and up from the revised 202,000.
- The unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, the lowest print in more than five years.
- The labour force participation rate fell to 62.8% from 63.2%.
- The number of long-term unemployed dropped by 287,000 to 3.5 million.
- Average hourly earnings growth fell 10 bps to 0% from the prior month. Weekly hours were unchanged at 34.5.
Market reaction has largely been muted. Interest rates ticked higher in the middle of the yield curve but held on 10-year notes.
It’s a good number but also a curious one. No one is quite sure what’s going on with the labour force participation rate, which fell to its lowest level since 1978.
A labour official said fewer people were entering the work force:
BLS says labour force decline was probably “due mostly to fewer people entering the labour force than usual” — not more people leaving
— Annalyn Kurtz (@AnnalynKurtz) May 2, 2014
As Mike Jackson observes, the number of employed individuals in the household survey actually fell by 73,000, and the labour force contracted by 806,000.
And here’s this from Adam Hersh:
When work hours don’t go up, and part-time for econ reasons don’t go down, makes one wonder about labour demand.
— Adam S. Hersh (@adamshersh) May 2, 2014
Here are the jobs added by industry:
Here are the alternative unemployment rate measures, which fell across the board:
And here are unemployment rates by demographic:
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