Friday, May 02, 2008
The Labor Department released the April employment report today. Payrolls declined by only 20,000 and the unemployment rate dipped to 5.0 percent. Analysts had been expecting a decline of 85,000 in payrolls and a 5.2 percent unemployment rate.
Get out the party hats!
This was the fourth consecutive monthly decline for nonfarm payrolls with a total job loss during that period of 260,000. Figures for February and March were revised modestly lower.
Construction and manufacturing firms continued to cut payrolls aggressively, down 61,000 and 46,000, respectively. Job loss in construction has now spread to the commercial sector with payrolls declining 13,000 to go along with a loss of over 33,000 spots in residential building.
Retail trade employment declined by 27,000, almost half of the job losses occurring at building material and garden supply stores, part of the continuing fallout of a housing boom that has gone decidedly bust.
Gains of 52,000 were seen in education and health services and payrolls rose by 39,000 in professional and business services with strong gains in computer systems design and accounting. Temporary employment, considered a good leading indicator for future job growth, fell by over 9,000.
While government contributed only 9,000 new jobs in April, the health care industry continues to be a stalwart in job creation with a gain of 43,000 last month.