By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
The numbers: The U.S. created 263,000 new jobs in April to help drive the unemployment rate down to a 49-year low, the latest cue pointing to a rebound in the economy after a slow start in the new year.
The increase in hiring was concentrated at white-collar businesses, construction and health care. The only sector to suffer a big drawback was retail, whose employment fell for the third straight month.
The increase in new jobs easily topped the 213,000 forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch.
The unemployment rate, meanwhile, slipped to 3.6% from 3.8% in March, marking the lowest level since December 1969, the Labor Department said . The decline in April stemmed from nearly a half-million workers dropping out of the labor force, but by the any measure, layoffs and unemployment are scraping a 50-year low.
The amount of money the average worker earns, meanwhile, rose 6 cents to $27.77 an hour.
The increase in pay in the past 12 months was unchanged at 3.2%. While hourly pay is rising at the fastest pace in nearly a decade, the increase in wages appears to have leveled off. That ought to ease any worries at the Federal Reserve about rising wages triggering a sharp increase in inflation.
What happened: Professional and business services added 76,000 jobs, continuing a torrid steak under which total employment has risen by more than a half million in the past year.
Construction companies boosted payrolls by 33,000, the second straight solid gain. Health-care providers hired 27,000 people and employment in social assistance climbed by 26,000.
Manufacturers added a scant 4,000 jobs after no increase in March. Hiring has been very weak this year as companies struggle with stagnant exports and the effects of U.S. trade tensions with China.
Government jobs rose by 27,000. The federal government is already starting to hire workers for the 2020 Census.
Retailers, on the other hand, cut 12,000 jobs as traditional brands continue to lose ground to internet rivals.
Although the economy is still pumping out plenty of new jobs, the rate of hiring has slowed. The U..S. added an average of 169,000 jobs in the past three months, down from a three-year high of 232,000 in January.
Still, the U.S. is on track to add 2 million new jobs for the ninth straight year.
Big picture: The economy got off to a rocky start in 2019, but growth appears to have picked up with spring underway. The most muscular labor market in arguably half a century is the chief reason why.
The record number of people working has supported a steady increase in demand for goods and services, giving businesses little reason to cut staff, especially with skilled workers so hard to find. Open jobs exceed the number of Americans classified as officially unemployed by more than 1 million.
The result is a steadily expanding economy that will set a record for longest expansion ever at the end of June despite some pockets of weakness. At the same time, inflation remains under control even as wages rise, perhaps because of a long-sought increase in productivity.
What they are saying?
“Another astonishingly strong month of jobs growth shows the continued strength of this recovery,” said Martha Gimbel, director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab. “That being said, we shouldn’t expect eye-popping jobs numbers like this to continue throughout this year.
“The bottom line is effectively unchanged,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors. “Job creation remains solid, and should provide continued support for consumer spending sufficient to keep the economy on a solid growth path.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -1.69% and S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.51% rose in Friday trades on the back of the strong employment report.
The 10-year Treasury yield
fell slightly to 2.53%. Many loans such as mortgages and auto loans are tied to changes in the 10-year note.