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BLS Jobs Report: 223,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Falls to 5.4 Percent

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Economists predicted today's release from the Labor Department would should gains of 228,000 jobs last month, and a dip in the unemployment rate of one-tenth of a percent, and The Employment Situation Summary largely bore out their forecast. The economy added 223,000 jobs in April, and unemployment fell from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent. The news wasn't entirely rosy, however: the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the previous month's numbers downward from 126,000 jobs to 85,000 jobs.

Economists predicted today’s release from the Labor Department would should gains of 228,000 jobs last month, and a dip in the unemployment rate of one-tenth of a percent, and The Employment Situation Summary largely bore out their forecast. The economy added 223,000 jobs in April, and unemployment fell from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent. The news wasn’t entirely rosy, however: the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the previous month‘s numbers downward from 126,000 jobs to 85,000 jobs.

bls 

(Photo Credit: brownpau/Flickr)

That revised number is the smallest job growth since June 2012. Still, this month’s 200,000-plus report means that some are cautiously considering March’s number a fluke rather than a trend.

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“While some will say the downward revisions mitigate the positive aspect of an inline reading, we disagree,” Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist for BTIG, told CNBC. “What matters most about this employment report is that the winter slowdown did not bleed through into April.”

In April, employment rose in professional and business services (+62,000 jobs), healthcare (+45,000 jobs), construction (+45,000 jobs), and transportation and warehousing (+15,000 jobs). Employment fell in mining by 15,000 jobs, mostly in support and oil and gas extraction. Other major sectors, including manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, financial activities, and government, were largely flat.

Average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $24.87. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for all employed workers, forecasts a year-over-year growth of 0.7 percent for the second quarter of 2015.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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