Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

USA employment up in April, jobless rate falls to 4.4%

USA employment up in April, jobless rate falls to 4.4%

The decline reflected both an increase in hiring and people leaving the labor force.

The Fed on Wednesday kept its benchmark overnight interest rate unchanged and said it expected labour market conditions would "strengthen somewhat further". Furthermore, some analysts said that the economy regained positive momentum in the Q1, suggesting that the Fed will likely be forced to raise rates at a quicker than initially expected pace this year.

The rebound in the jobs market could pave the way for the USA central bank to raise interest rates in June.

The youth unemployment rate slipped 1.1 percentage points to 11.7 per cent last month with help from a 0.5-percentage-point drop in the youth participation rate.

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The rate, designated U-6, averaged 8.3% in the two years before the recession. The U.S. dollar initially gained against a basket of currencies before turning flat.

Even though the overall economy was growing at a sluggish pace at the beginning of the year, the jobless rate fell to 4.5 percent in March, the lowest in almost a decade.

Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose 2.5% in April compared with a year earlier. The sector lost 32,000 jobs in the same two months a year ago. That could also push up wages. Numbers released on Friday show that for the month of April, the unemployment rate for the region was down to 5.5%.

Construction payrolls rose 5,000 last month and manufacturing employment advanced by 6,000 jobs.

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Leisure and hospitality added 55,000 jobs, with employment in food services continuing to trend up.

According to Statistics Canada, more people were employed in educational services, health care and social assistance, and transportation and warehousing in April. It has now fallen three straight months in 2017.

Meanwhile, retailers have been slashing jobs as shopping has shifted with less traffic in brick and mortar traditional stores and much more online. The unemployment rate for installation, maintenance and fix occupations increased 0.7 points to 7.6 percent.

An alternative measure of unemployment and underemployment, which includes those who have stopped looking and those in part-time jobs who want full-time positions, was 8.6% in April, versus 8.9% the prior month.

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Wages grew 2.5% in April compared to a year ago.

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