Add employment to those reports showing weakness, at least moderate weakness as nonfarm payrolls rose a lower-than-expected 160,000 in April. Revisions are minor, down a combined 19,000 in the two prior months with March now at 208,000. Government is a weak spot in April, down 11,000, with retail also showing weakness, down 3,000 after a series of outsized gains.
The unemployment rate is unchanged at an expected 5.0 percent but the size of the labor force did fall in this reading. And the participation rate, which had been jumping, slipped 2 tenths to 62.8 percent.
Earnings are a positive, up 0.3 percent in the month with the year-on-year rate back on the climb at 2.5 percent for a 2 tenths gain. The workweek is also a positive up 1 tenth to 34.5 hours.
Turning back to industry sectors, mining extended its long trail of contraction with a 7,000 decline. But is definitely strength especially for the closely watched professional & business services reading, up a very strong 65,000 and pointing to the need for additional permanent hiring in the months ahead. The temporary help services subcomponent of the this reading is up 9,000 for a second month. Financial activities also shows strength, up a very solid 20,000 with manufacturing back in the plus column but not by much with a 4,000 gain and reflecting a snap-back for the auto industry.
There’s give and take in the April data especially for labor participation which, however, is still trending higher, at least modestly. Employment is still the central strength of the economy but less so in what is less than a gangbuster opening to the second quarter. Today’s report lowers whatever chances there are for a rate hike at the June FOMC.
More data at http://mam.econoday.com/