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Economy Resumes Climb With Healthy 223,000 Jobs, Unemployment Ticks Down to 5.4%

| May 8, 2015

us unemployment job creation april 2015 graph

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After the worst job-creation month in 15 months, and growth showing a stall in the first quarter, the economy added 233,000 jobs in April and unemployment went down to 5.4 percent, another new low since the Great Recession: the unemployment rate was last this low exactly seven years ago, in May 2008, when it was beginning to rise rapidly.


That’s the good part. The not-so-goot part of this morning’s job report is that despite April’s healthy job creation, it’s significantly down from the more than average 300,000 jobs a month created in the last three months of 2014, while January and February job creation numbers were revised downward by 39,000, to a total of 351,000 for the two months combined.

There are still 8.5 million unemployed Americans, and the unemployment rate does not reflect the number of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the workforce altogether, or the 6.5 million who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time work, or because their hours have been cut back. When those numbers are included, the more accurate unemployment and under-employment rate, officially known as the U-6 rate, climbs to 10.8 percent–and 12.3 percent in Florida. Nevertheless, that rate has fallen a full percentage point in the past year.

The Labor Department notes that job growth in April was particularly strong in construction, professional and business services, and education and health services. These are sectors that have historically provided good-paying middle-class jobs. Employment in mining, oil and gas industries all fell. Employment in other manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change.

Two other indicators of the economy’s underlying strength remain relatively tepid: the civilian labor force participation rate was at 62.8 percent, hovering in that zone with minor upticks or downticks for the past year. The employment-population ratio held at 59.3 percent in April and has been at this level
since January. But the large-scale retirement of baby-boomers accounts for a big portion of the lower participation rate.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 3 cents to $24.87. That’s just 0.1 percent. The inflation rate went up 0.2 percent. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by only 2.2 percent, not enough to keep up with inflation or provide the sort of boost that improves standards of living.

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5 Responses for “Economy Resumes Climb With Healthy 223,000 Jobs, Unemployment Ticks Down to 5.4%”

  1. marty says:

    “There are still 8.5 million unemployed Americans, and the unemployment rate does not reflect the number of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the workforce altogether, or the 6.5 million who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time work, or because their hours have been cut back. When those numbers are included, the more accurate unemployment and under-employment rate, officially known as the U-6 rate, climbs to 10.8 percent–and 12.3 percent in Florida. Nevertheless, that rate has fallen a full percentage point in the past year.”

    Till this is rectified – and stated in every economic report that the media gives on the economy – the “rising economy stories” are a joke.

    “Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by only 2.2 percent, not enough to keep up with inflation or provide the sort of boost that improves standards of living.”

    Same with the above. The economy is nowhere near “recovered” for far too many working class Americans

    • marty says:

      Amen, Layla! – For other readers and commenters – Zero Hedge is a site well worth your time – I’ve been reading it for a good long time and it is a welcome dose of reality about our corrupt, broken system.

    • snapperhead says:

      Kind of a misleading statistic….if the percentage of people not in the labor force held steady at any percentage, with population growth the number would rise anyway.10% of 100 is 10…10% of 1000 is 100…same percentage higher number.

  2. Saul says:

    The actually unemployment figure is 23% . How are you going to put America back to work when there are NO business or factories left. Keep the people on government handouts and you eventually create a socialistic society. Were almost there !!!

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