The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report on Friday indicating that nonfarm employment rose by 263,000 jobs in April, well above the market expectation of 185,000.
- Nonfarm payrolls rose by an unexpected 263,000 positions. March payrolls were revised slightly downward to 189,000 compared to 196,000 originally reported.
- Wage growth was below expectations at 0.2% MoM vs. 0.3% predicted, or 3.2% annually vs. 3.3% predicted.
- The unemployment rate has dropped faster than expected to the range of 3.6%.
The labor market has produced mixed data recently, with the ISM Manufacturing PMI showing a sharp decline in employment recently. However, overall the market is going strong with the private sector reporting an increase of 275,000 jobs recently as well as Friday’s reported increase of 263,000 nonfarm payroll jobs. The Federal Reserve had pointed to 3.6% unemployment by the end of the year, and that figure now appears to have been reached already in Q2.
Despite the ongoing strength of the labor market, wage growth is slower than expected at 0.2% monthly or 3.2% annually, 0.1% lower than predictions in both cases. Wages rose for private nonfarm payroll employees rose by $0.06 to $27.77, and average hourly earnings for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by $0.07 to $23.31.
While below expectations, as of April hourly earnings have now increased above 3% for 9 months in a row.
The recent report has led some to call for fiscal policy adjustments in light of the strong labor market.
— jeroen blokland (@jsblokland) May 3, 2019
Professional and business services added 76,000 jobs, construction companies rose by 33,000, healthcare providers hired 27,000 people, and employment in social assistance rose by 26,000.
Government jobs rose 27,000, Manufacturing added 4,000, and retail dropped by 12,000, the third month of consecutive decline following ongoing headwinds in the industry.
Surprisingly, gold has shot upward following the news which has also seen a strengthened US dollar. Typically an unexpected increase in jobs is bearish for gold, as is upward momentum in the greenback. The volatility may be a reaction to the mixed news that wage growth is slow even amid a booming jobs market. Spot gold last traded at $1,276.38/oz, up 0.53% on the day.