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Americans Finally Get A Raise, But Fewer People Get Jobs

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

The economy added 160,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 202,000 jobs to be added. That’s the weakest job creation since September 2015.

The biggest job gains in April were in professional and business services (65,000), health care (44,000), and finance (20,000). Mining lost 7,000. Most other industries showed little change.

The labor force participation rate, or the share of people in the workforce, also shrunk in April to 62.8 percent, as did the employment-to-population ratio, down to 59.7 percent.

The negative news continued in revisions, as past months were revised down by 19,000. February was revised from 245,000 down to 233,000, and March went from the previously reported 215,000 to 208,000. Job gains have averaged 200,000 a month over the last three months.

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The good news was in wage growth, however. Average hourly earnings increased by 8 cents in April, or 0.3 percent, following an increase of 6 cents in March, and they have risen 2.5 percent over the last year, a healthier rate than in recent reports.