Job creation in the U.S. was weaker than expected in the month of April, according to figures released by the Labor Department on Friday, although the report also showed another drop by the unemployment rate.
The overall economy added 115,000 jobs in April compared to revised data that showed March job creation at 154,000, notably higher than the 120,000 initially reported.
The job creation numbers for April were well below the predictions of most economists, who had forecast 165,000 new jobs for the month.
Nonetheless, the job growth in the two previous months was upwardly revised by a combined 53,000 jobs, and Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "Considering the weather issues, its best to average the months and thus things are about in line."
Despite the weaker than expected job growth in April, the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1 percent in April from the 8.2 percent reported for March.
While the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in over three years, the drop was largely due to a decrease in the size of the labor force.
The U.S. private sector actually added somewhat more jobs than the overall figure, 130,000, but that job creation rate was still well below the predictions of most economists.
The public sector saw a net loss of 15,000 jobs in April, largely at the local government level.
In the private sector, employment rose in the professional and business services, retail trade and health care sectors but declined in the transportation and warehousing sector.
The number of long-term unemployed, those without jobs for more than 27 weeks, was little changed in April at 5.1 million, representing 41.3 percent of the unemployed.
Likewise, the number of people working only part time for economic reasons, because their hours had been cut back or because they are unable to find full-time work, was essentially unchanged in April at 7.9 million.
Labor Department figures also showed 2.4 million Americans marginally attached to the labor force - those who had searched for work sometime in the previous year but not within the four weeks prior to the survey.
Of those marginally attached, 968,000 were discouraged workers who have given up looking for work because they believe no jobs are available.
The average workweek held level at 34.5 hours in April, while average hourly earnings edged up 1 cent to $23.38.
by RTT Staff Writer
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