United States: Labor market conditions continue to improve in April
Total non-farm payrolls increased by 266,000 in April, missing analysts’ expectations of a 978,000 increase. This follows March’s 770,000 increase in payrolls. Employment gains in leisure and hospitality, public education and financial services drove the headline reading.
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 6.0% in March to 6.1% in April, and the labor force participation rate rose from 61.5% to 61.7% in April. Hourly earnings rose 0.7% month-on-month in April (March: -0.1% mom), while annual wage growth eased to 0.3% from 4.2% the month prior.
Commenting on the short-term outlook on the labor market, Andrew Grantham, a senior economist at CIBC Economics, noted:
“At present, workers appear either unwilling (due to generous stimulus payments or health concerns) or unable (child care issues) to take up positions that are available. However, as savings from stimulus checks get depleted, vaccinations continue and child cares reopen, these issues should start to fade and we should start to see the strong payrolls releases that we, and most others, were expecting last week. Businesses certainly appear keen to hire.”