The US unemployment rate dropped from 3.8% to 3.6% in April, the lowest rate in 49 years, according to the US Labor Department.
The report showed that the US economy added 263,000 jobs in April while just under half a million people (490,000) left the labor force.
The total number of unemployed persons dropped by 387,000 to 5.8 million.
There were job gains in nearly all sectors of the US economy, except retail – employment in that sector dropped for a third consecutive month.
Breakdown of jobs gains/losses in April by sector:
- The professional and business services sector added 76,000 jobs.
- Employment in health care grew by 27,000.
- Social assistance added 26,000 jobs.
- Financial activities employment rose by 12,000.
- Manufacturing employment rose by 4,000.
- Retail trade employment dropped 12,000.
Wage data showed that the increase in average hourly earnings in the past 12 months was unchanged at 3.2%.
While wage growth is strong, it’s not thought to be high enough to spark concerns about rising wages triggering a sharp rise in inflation.
According to NPR, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday:
.”Our outlook and my outlook is a positive one — is a healthy one — for the U.S. economy for growth for the rest of this year,”
“We don’t see any evidence at all of overheating,” Powell said. “For a long time now, there have been anecdotal reports of labor shortages and difficulty in finding skilled labor and that kind of thing. Nonetheless, you have very strong job creation.”
“We are a nonpolitical institution,” he added. “And that means we don’t think about short-term political considerations. We don’t discuss them, and we don’t consider them in making our decisions, one way or the other.”