After strong jobs reports in February and March, expectations were that the hot streak would continue into April.
That’s not quite what happened. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs in April, below projections. The overall unemployment rate remained 5.0%, and for the first time in over eight years, we’ve been at or below this level for seven consecutive months.
As for the revisions: February’s job totals were revised down a little, from 245,000 to 233,000, while March’s totals were also revised down a bit, from 215,000 to 208,000. Combined, that’s a loss of 19,000.
All things considered, it’s a discouraging report, though the news wasn’t all bad: this same report pointed to a decent bump in wages, which serves as a nice silver lining.
Over the last 12 months, the overall economy has created 2.69 million new jobs, which is a pretty healthy number. What’s more, March was the 67th consecutive month of positive job growth – the best stretch since 1939 – and the 74th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.