The pace of US job growth bounced back last month from a weak performance in March, underscoring the Federal Reserve’s view that the economy’s choppy first-quarter performance was probably a blip.
The US economy added 211,000 jobs in April, compared with Wall Street expectations of 190,000. Payrolls for March was revised down to just a gain of 79,000 jobs, compared to an earlier estimate of 98,000.
Meanwhile, wage growth cooled to a year-on-year rate of 2.5 per cent, from 2.6 per cent in the previous month. The unemployment rate fell to 4.4 per cent from 4.5 per cent, its lowest level since 2007.
Economic reports for the first quarter were mixed, with survey data frequently painting a rosier picture than hard data. Growth during the first three months of the year slowed to the lowest level since 2014, while the most recent reading on consumer prices came in shy of expectations.
Despite the mixed economic data, the Fed said this week that the first-quarter weakness was probably “transitory”, further raising expectations that it will raise interest rates next month.
The upbeat April jobs report may add further fuel to those expectations, and leave investors more confident that the Fed will stick to its forecast of two additional rate increases this year, following the one in March.