160,000 New Jobs in April, Wages up 2.5 Percent

May 6, 2016

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

Today’s jobs report revealed slow and steady job growth in April. The U.S. economy added 160,000 new jobs to non-farm payrolls last month, and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 percent.

Today’s job growth was slightly below the consensus forecast of about 200,000 new jobs for April, but is very close to our own predictions based on the hiring trends we’re seeing at Glassdoor.

To keep the employment rate steady, the labor market only needs to add about 100,000 new jobs per month. The average pace of job growth over the past three months has been 200,000 new jobs added—a solid showing during a time of stock market volatility and slow growth overseas. Today’s job growth figures indicate continued strength in the labor market.

Average hourly wages in April grew by 2.5 percent from one year ago. That’s a slight improvement from the roughly 2.2-2.3 percent growth of recent months, but still well below the 3-4 percent growth of normal times.

One closely-watched figure in today’s jobs report is the labor force participation (LFP) rate. It has been on an unusual upward trend in recent months, as some sidelined workers have been pulled back into today’s vibrant job market.

As we expected, the LFP’s recent upward trend ended today, falling 0.2 percentage points in April to 62.8 percent. As Baby Boomers continue to retire and young workers stay in school longer, we expect this downward trend to continue over the next decade—regardless of short-term shifts in the business cycle.

The strongest April job gains were in professional and business services (65,000 jobs), health care (38,200 jobs), and leisure and hospitality (22,000 jobs). By contrast, the weakest job gains were in government (-11,000 jobs), mining and logging (-8,000 jobs), and retail (-3,100 jobs).

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.