U.S. Outlook: Job growth starts second quarter with a bang

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Job growth heated up in April as nonfarm payrolls increased a stronger than forecast 263,000 jobs, the best month for U.S. job growth since January.

Line of job applicants

The upside jobs surprise will keep the economic growth slowdown fears at bay for a while longer and starts the second quarter off on solid footing. This was a good week for the U.S. economy with big upside surprises on both productivity and job creation.

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on May 3.

Key observations:
  • Job gains last month were broad-based and led by professional and business services (+76K), education and health care (+62K), leisure and hospitality (+34K), construction (+33K), and government (+27K).
  • Retail trade jobs declined by 12K in April and have been dropping now for three consecutive months. Manufacturing job growth has also been sputtering, increasing by only 4K jobs in April after being flat in March. Information jobs declined by 1K last month.
  • The unemployment rate dropped another two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.585% last month, hitting a new expansion low and reaching a new 49-year low milestone.
  • More people are leaving the labor force. The labor force plunged by 490K in April and has declined by 770K since January. The labor force participation rate was at 63.2% in January, but has slipped to 62.8% in April.

Read my full report.

April jobs gaints

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.