On the surface, the April jobs number was better than expected: in the grand scheme of things, it kept in line with the growth of the overall US labor force (which grew by 210K per the household survey) - the bare minimum in needs to keep the unemployment rate in line. A quick look beneath the surface does reveal the usual question marks, however.
The first and now traditional issue, is when looking at the composition by age. Here we notice that just like in prior months, a key part of the growth was attributable to those aged in the 55 and over group, which added 79K workers, although a surprising change was the massive addition of some 187K workers in the lowest paid, 20-24 age group - the biggest monthly jump in this category since September. Was this due to students entering the workforce early? The reason is unclear. What is clear is that the prime working demographic, those aged 25-54 saw yet another decline, as 16K workers exited the ranks of the employed.
Breaking this down sequentially by sub-55 year old workers, vs those 55 and over, shows the same trend seen many times before: no cumulative hiring of "young" workers, with the bulk of hiring focusing on those 55 and older.
So that's the age distribution: no major surprises here.
But perhaps the most curious development in the April jobs report is the gender breakdown: of the 293,000 jobs added per the Household Survey, women workers (aged 16 and older) accounted for... 384K? Men - sorry. 90K males lost jobs in April.
Why? We look forward to finding out. But perhaps Buffett's praise of women in the US yesterday was on to something.