Hiring rebounds in April, U.S. economy adds over 200,000 jobs

I’ve been writing a lot in my City Talk columns about the employment recovery in Savannah and in Georgia’s metro areas (some rural areas are still so weak in terms of hiring that it’s hard to use the word “recovery”), and we’re just part of a larger trend. Employment continues to increase at a nice clip — much faster than necessary to keep pace with population growth — and some of the internal numbers, like the labor force participation rate, are looking better all the time.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Mining employment continued to decline. […]

In April, the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8 percent) changed little. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. The employment- population ratio held at 59.3 percent in April and has been at this level since January. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.6 million in April, but is down by 880,000 from a year earlier. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See
table A-8.)

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in April, after edging up in March (+85,000). In April, employment increased in professional and business services, health care, and construction, while employment in mining continued to decline. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 62,000 jobs in April. Over the prior 3 months, job gains averaged 35,000 per month. In April, services to buildings and dwellings added 16,000 jobs, following little change in March. Employment continued to trend up in April in computer systems design and related services (+9,000), in business support services (+7,000), and in management and technical consulting services (+6,000).

Health care employment increased by 45,000 in April. Job growth was distributed among the three major components—ambulatory health care services (+25,000), hospitals (+12,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+8,000). Over the past year, health care has added 390,000 jobs.
Employment in construction rose by 45,000 in April, after changing little in March. Over the past 12 months, construction has added 280,000 jobs. In April, job growth was concentrated in specialty trade contractors (+41,000), with employment gains about evenly split between the residential and nonresidential components. Employment declined over the month in nonresidential building construction (-8,000).

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Things could always be better, so I see no reason for the Fed to dramatically step back from stimulative measures, although I’m sure there will be calls for such a move after this strong report.