Ian Pike 4 p.m., March 9
U.S. Jobs Rise Sharply but Unemployment Rate Up
Employment statistics announced by the federal government today (May 6) are a mixed bag, but they are initially pleasing Wall Street, as stock prices soar in early trading. However, it is not clear that the numbers will please Main Street. The nation added 244,000 jobs in April; economists had expected 175,00. All the gains were in the private sector; government hiring declined. However, the unemployment rate rose to 9% from 8.8% in March because more Americans were looking for jobs in April, joining the labor force. Generally, the jobs gain is the best since 2006. But some statistics don't look so rosy. Government compiles the data by going to employers and also doing a survey of households. The household survey showed a decline of 190,000 jobs. The average workweek was flat and average hourly earnings only inched up 0.1% to $22.95. The net birth/death adjustment model, which is completely a computerized estimate involving no actual data, contributed 1.169 million jobs, theoretically. This purports to estimate the number of jobs from new businesses minus the number of such jobs disappearing. This could have swelled today's employment numbers. The nation has now recovered only 20% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession.