Jobs Report Shows Slight Improvement for Legal Employment in April

The US unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly last month, as companies created more jobs than expected.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 211,000 in April, an increase from March's downwardly revised figure of 79,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobs market added 533,000 new positions during the first three months of the year, in line with first quarters in 2016 and 2015. Healthcare and social assistance have added 12,000 jobs in April whereas transportation and warehousing could add 8,800.Other notable drop in jobs was accommodation and food services that fell 12,000 in April.

In the week ending April 29, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 19,000 to 238,000. For instance, the U-6 rate measure that covers individuals who gave up looking for a job, or those who work part-time but want to work full-time, dropped to 86 percent in April, the lowest level in the past decade. Average hourly earnings rose by 2.5 percent from the previous year to $26.19, slightly slower growth than was seen in previous months.

Economists have expressed optimism that the United States is strengthening in the current April-June quarter, fuelled by job growth, higher consumer confidence and stock-market records on promises of tax cuts and investment from President Trump. "The Fed will respond accordingly".

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The unemployment rate has now fallen 0.6 percentage points since the start of the year, with 854,000 fewer unemployed people, while average monthly job creation of 185,000 so far in 2017 is in line with last year's trend.

Mining added 8,800 jobs in April, with 6,700 of them coming from support activities.

The labor force participation rate, which shows the share of working-age people in the labor force, edged down to 62.9 percent from March's reading of 63 percent.

However, that helped cause a tumble during March that offset gains that became amplified due to snowstorms across the Northeast and Midwest that left growth in employment during March at approximately 50% of the earlier rates.

Strengthening business sentiment might be translating into hiring, and the data should keep Federal Reserve policymakers on track to raise interest rates in the coming months after officials declared the first-quarter slowdown to be temporary.

  • Ronnie Bowen