U.S.: Employment rebounds

3 min
Dan North
Dan North Senior Economist for North America

The April employment report was quite strong as the economy added +263k jobs, easily beating expectations of +180k. The unemployment rate dropped from 3.8% to 3.6%, the lowest in over 49 years, while wage gains remained steady at +3.2% y/y. There were some soft spots as the labor force fell by a steep -490k, the fourth consecutive decline, driving the participation rate down by -0.2pp as a result. The work week shrank to a -0.3% y/y rate which drove weekly wage growth down to +2.9% y/y; it had been +3.5% just four months ago. Productivity surged at a +3.6% q/q annualized rate, the most in five years, and the first time above the long-term average of +2.1% in the entire recovery. The ISM non-manufacturing index fell slightly, losing -0.6 points to 55.5 points. But it was the fourth decline in five months and six of the ten components fell. Survey respondents reported concerns over both slowing demand and finding labor.