U.S. Outlook: A Goldilocks payroll report in April

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Net new job creation is cooling off. Nonfarm payroll growth at 164K in April came in a bit short of analysts’ expectations for the second month in a row.

Modern, busy office with several people at desks, as young woman rushes by in a blur.Should we be worried about this deceleration in job growth?

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on May 4.

Key observations:
  • Economists, including at the Fed, have noted that monthly job growth above 200K jobs per month was unsustainable, given our sluggish labor force growth.
  • The unemployment rate of 3.9% in April is the lowest unemployment rate in this country since December 2000.
  • Why we aren’t seeing serious wage and inflation pressures from such a low unemployment rate is a puzzle that’s likely to consume the Fed staff in the weeks ahead.
  • The cool-down in average monthly job growth makes me more comfortable with my forecast for just three interest rate hikes this year.


Read my full report.


Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

Submit an Idea

[contact-form-7 id="32" title="Share An Idea"]

You are leaving the Bank of the West Change Matters site. Please be aware: The website you are about to enter is not operated by Bank of the West. Bank of the West does not endorse the content of this website and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of content or functionality of this website. The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those practiced by Bank of the West. To proceed to this website, click OK, or hit Cancel to remain on the Bank of the West Change Matters site.