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  • Writer's pictureNick Andriacchi

"Is the Slowdown in April Jobs a Cause for Concern?"


·       Nonfarm payrolls increased 175,00 for the month, below economists’ estimates of 200,000.


·       The unemployment rate edged up 3.9%, as expected, even though the labor force participation rate moved higher to 62.7%.


·       Wages rose only 0.2% for the month and 3.9% from a year ago, both below economists’ estimates.  This may signal some good news in reducing inflation.


·       Health care led again with 56,000 new jobs, followed by warehouse and transportation (21,800), and education (18,900).



The April 2024 Jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a tempered addition of jobs alongside a slowdown in wage growth. Concurrently, the March 2024 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report portrayed a stable labor demand (8.5mm open jobs). However, the sluggish wage growth (+.2% monthly or +3.9% annually) suggests a potential concern for workers' purchasing power and overall economic vitality.


I wouldn't be concerned with terms like stagflation or a looming recession yet, but the deceleration in wages may pose challenges for sustaining consumer spending and economic growth in the long term. This may be just what the Fed needs to hear in terms of cutting interest rates.


For a deeper dive….


·       A more encompassing measure of unemployment (U6) that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons is up .1% to 7.4%.

 

·       Prime age labor force participation rate (ages 25-54) was up .1% to 83.5%.  

 

·       The overall labor force participation held steady 62.7%.   This is still .5% below the level of February 2020.

 

·       In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $34.75. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.9 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 6 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $29.83.

 

·       In April, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 34.3 hours. In manufacturing, the average workweek was unchanged at 40.0 hours, and overtime was also unchanged at 2.9 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.

 

·       APD is reported that 192,000 jobs were added last month.

 

Source: ADP, BLS, CNBC, Fox News

 

 

 

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – MARCH 2024

 

The number of job openings changed little at 8.5 million on the last business day of March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, the number of hires changed little at 5.5million while the number of total separations decreased to 5.2 million. Within separations, quits (3.3 million) and layoffs and discharges (1.5 million) changed little. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by establishment size class.

       

Job Openings

 

On the last business day of March, the number of job openings changed little at 8.5 million; this measure was down by 1.1 million over the year. The rate was little changed at 5.1 percent in March. Job openings decreased in construction (-182,000) and in finance and insurance (-158,000), but increased in state and local government education (+68,000).

 

Hires

In March, the number of hires was little changed at 5.5 million but was down by 455,000 over the year. The rate, at 3.5 percent, changed little in March.

 

Separations

Total separations include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations include separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

 

The number of total separations in March decreased to 5.2 million (-339,000). The rate changed little at 3.3 percent. Over the month, the number of total separations increased in private educational services (+21,000).

 

In March, the number of quits was little changed at 3.3 million but was down by 480,000 over the year.  The rate was little changed at 2.1 percent in March. The number of quits decreased in other services (-59,000).

 

In March, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges changed little at 1.5 million and 1.0 percent, respectively. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-39,000) but increased in private educational services (+18,000).

 

The number of other separations was little changed in March at 345,000.

 

Establishment Size Class

In March, establishments with 1 to 9 employees and establishments with 5,000 or more employees saw little change in their job openings rate, hires rate, and total separations rate.

 

February 2024 Revisions

The number of job openings for February was revised up by 57,000 to 8.8 million, the number of hires was revised down by 37,000 to 5.8 million, and the number of total separations was revised down by

20,000 to 5.5 million.

 

Within separations, the number of quits was revised up by 43,000 to 3.5 million and the number of layoffs and discharges was revised down by 43,000 to 1.7 million. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)

____________

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for April 2024 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

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