Unemployment Rate Edges Down After 6 Months At 4.1%

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U.S. Economy Added 164,000 Jobs in April Unemployment Fell to 3.9% The Associated Press by John Carney4 May 20180 4 May 2018 4 May 2018

Initially, the agency showed the sector adding jobs in March, but Friday's release shows that employment in the industry remained flat at 1,135,500 jobs in both February and March.

Therefore, the accumulated gain in April was +194,000 jobs. It was the seventh consecutive month with robust growth in hiring in the sector, averaging 26,571 per month over that time frame.

Meanwhile the labor force participation rate fell to its lowest level since January, accounting for some of the drop in unemployment as people bowed out of the job hunt. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite opened moderately lower after the jobs data, but the major market indexes staged a midmorning rally, fueled by Apple (AAPL). Payrolls rose 164,000 after an upwardly revised 135,000 advance, Labor Department figures showed May 4. A 3.9% jobless figure is the lowest since December 2000, nearly two decades ago.

The NFIB report said 57 percent of responding small businesses said they were hiring or planning to hire in April, up from 53 percent in March.

The unemployment rate in the country also dropped in April.

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"It's a "Groundhog Day" kind of employment report", said Michael Gapen, chief USA economist at Barclays Plc, referring to the film where actor Bill Murray's character must re-live the same day over and over. That hints that "the pool of available labor helping to keep a lid on inflation is slowly drying up", says Capital Economics in a note, flagging that an index of employment costs also continued to climb.

Does this mean the economy is at full employment?

The implications are being reveled in outbreaks of labor unrest over compensations levels. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 67 cents, or 2.6 percent.

This year is beginning to look lot like 2016, when wage gains accelerated into summer after Walmart (WMT) hiked its base wage to $10 an hour. Over the year so far, nonfarm hourly wages have increased by 67 cents, according to BLS.

Still, the jobs growth in April was lower than expected - economists in a Bloomberg survey had predicted 193,000 new jobs. The black unemployment rate of 6.6 percent is the lowest on record since 1972.

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But 236,000 people left the labour force in April, adding to the 158,000 who quit in March.

The U.S. Labor Department cited better-than-average unemployment claims in ME and Colorado as a mark of the strong numbers. That is the highest level of manufacturing employment since December 2008.

Mining, a category that includes not just coal and metals but jobs in oil and gas fields, added 8,000 positions, partly because of a rise in oil prices. Other services experiencing notable growths are manufacturing and healthcare.

The notion that firms are very reluctant to cut wages has a long history, for a very good reason: it's true. It will be quite the "red letter" day if that happens.

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