BLS NFP Breakdown

BLS data seems to be causing some consternation amongst the employment cognescenti. Let’s drill down and se what is what:

First, the initial release:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in several service-providing industries, manufacturing, and mining.”

Here are the key takeaways:

• Total NFP payroll employment increased by 244,000 in April; Private sector added 268,000 jobs;
• Unemployment rate rose to 9% from 8.8%
• Private hiring rose by 268,000 in April — the most since February 2006
• Average workweek was unchanged at 34.3 hours
• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private NFP increased by 3 cents, or 0.1% to $22.95.
• Labor force participation rate was 64.2%, unchanged for the 4th month in a row. Employment-population ratio was 58.4%, also relatively flat
• Retailers hired 57,000, Professional and business services accounted for 51,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality sector added 46,000, health-care companies hired 37,000, manufacturing added 29,000.
• The biggest decline took place in government, continuing a recent trend, as public-sector jobs fell by 24,000. Governments cut 24,000 jobs

FT notes that the past six months of payrolls looks like:

November: 93,000
December: 152,000
January: 68,000
February: 235,000
March: 221,000
April: 244,000

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