Economy Watch: Economy Gains 211K Jobs in April

This month's job growth was a nice change from the mere 79,000 jobs created in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The headline unemployment rate also dropped to 4.4 percent in April, reflecting the continual tightening of the labor market.
Source: Bureau of  Labor Statistics
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. economy created a net of 211,000 jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, representing an uptick from March, when an anemic 79,000 new jobs were created (revised down from 98,000). The April expansion in employment was fairly broad based, including some sectors that drive commercial space usage, such as financial activities, along with leisure and hospitality, health care, and mining (which reflects some expansion in the energy sector).

In April, financial activities—a major driver of office space usage—added 19,000 jobs, with insurance companies and the like accounting for most of the gain (up 14,000), reported the BLS. Over the last 12 months, financial activities has added 173,000 jobs. Employment in professional and business services, another office space driver, continued to trend up in April (gaining 39,000). That industry sector has added 612,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in health care and social assistance increased by 37,000 in April. Health care employment continued to trend up over the month (gaining 20,000), which is in line with the industry’s average monthly job growth during the first quarter of this year but below the average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retailing, transportation and warehousing, information, and government at all levels, didn’t change much one way or the other in April.

The headline unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in April, down from 4.5 percent in March, and 5 percent a year ago. The more expansive definition of unemployment, which the BLS calls U-6 and includes everyone working part time who wants full-time work, and other people marginally attached to the workforce, came in at 8.6 percent in April. In March, the U-6 was 8.9 percent, and a year ago, it was 9.7 percent.