U.S. Economy Adds Lower-Than-Expected 175,000 Jobs in April
April 2024 US Jobs Report graph

U.S. Economy Adds Lower-Than-Expected 175,000 Jobs in April

April 2024’s jobs report has arrived — and so have several competing narratives about what it means.

About the report:

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation Summary for April. In total, it showed that the United States economy gained 175,000 jobs during the month. That’s well below the 240,000 jobs that economists had forecasted (per Marketwatch) and, similarly, is lower than the 12-month average of 242,000 per month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.8% to 3.9%.

Looking more closely at the figures, the health care, social assistance, and transportation and warehousing industries saw the largest gains. Healthcare saw a gain of 56,000 jobs in April, which was below the 12-month average of 63,000 per month. Meanwhile, the social assistance industry added 31,000 jobs — outpacing the 21,000 per month average. Gains in the transportation and warehousing sector amounted to 22,000 jobs, which was in line with previous months.

Turning to wages, in April, average hourly earnings increased by 0.2%, equating to 7 cents. For the month, the average hourly wage came in at $34.75. Furthermore, over the past 12 months, hourly wages have increased by an average of 3.9%.

What they’re saying:

Commenting on April’s figures, TruStage chief economist Steve Rick wrote, “This month’s slower jobs report, coupled with last week’s weaker than expected GDP report, is a sign for the Fed that the labor market and economy are finally feeling the effects of the aggressive interest rate hike cycle from 2023.” Rick added, “We are hopeful that this purposeful slowdown will encourage the Fed to move forward with their plans for two rate cuts this year.”

Meanwhile, the presumptive presidential nominees from both major parties also weighed in on the results. In a statement, President Joe Biden heralded the report, saying, “The great American comeback continues.” However, according to Marketwatch, former President Donald Trump told reporters that the numbers were “horrible,” before declaring, “These people are destroying our country — here’s another sign of it. … Our economy’s bad, and now it’s starting to show. So you’ll see, and it’ll only get worse.”

My thoughts:

As has been the case for the past several months now, the jobs report is viewed less through the lens of actual employment and more as a hint as to what the Federal Reserve might do with interest rates. in turn, the “weaker” numbers were well received on Wall Street in the hopes that rates will come down — or at least not go up anymore. And while I would comment on what the two presidential candidates had to say on the matter, there’s little point in adding to that conversation. Instead, we’ll focus on the good news that more Americans who want jobs are able to find them and wages for those jobs are continuing to grow.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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