Saturday, May 6, 2023

Another solid jobs report for April

The April jobs report came in on Friday, and while it's not the booming numbers we saw in 2021 and much of 2022, we're still growing, and we're still seeing unemployment decline.

But average hourly wages were also up 0.5% for April, so still in a good spot. And pretty good growth across the sectors, other than temporary gigs.

The unemployment rate fell to another multi-decade low, as the total amount of Americans listed as "employed" also hit a new high. And this stat in particular makes the GOP posing about "potential workers on the sidelines" seem all the more absurd.

But there is one part of the full jobs report that keeps it from being a complete positive.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 78,000, from +326,000 to +248,000, and the change for March was revised down by 71,000, from +236,000 to +165,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 149,000 lower than previously reported.
So put that 149,000 in downward revisions with the 253,000 added in April, and that's only a net change of 104,000. And I'd think the financial media might have been talking a lot more about "slowdown/recession" if we got a 104,000 print with no revisions.

As it is, there has been a noticeable slowdown in hiring, which you'd expect with an unemployment rate under 4%, but is still a clear downshift that continues a trend of the last 18 months.

You look at the moderating job growth, middling wage growth, and oil prices falling back below $70 a barrel last week, and it sure doesn't seem like an inflationary situation to me. I'd hope this confirms to the Federal Reserve that this week's interest rate hike will be the last, because if they truly want the "soft landing" scenario of moderate inflation and growth, it seems we are in that situation today.

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