Payrolls Miss Huge: April Jobs Rose Only 160K, Below 200K Expected; Unemployment Rate At 5%

It appears that the Fed is now officially "one and done" because the only indicator that until recently "confirmed" a "strong recovery", non-farm payrolls, just had a major stumble. 

In yet another Goldman jinx which just two days ago boosted its payrolls forecast from 225K to 240K, moments ago the BLS reported that ADP's ominous print was right when it said that April payrolls rose only 160K, far below the 200K expected, and higher than just 1 of 92 economist expectations. This was the lowest print since last September's 145K.

Private payrolls rose 171K on expectations of a 195K print, with last month's 230K revised steeply lower to 184K.

The unemployment rate also missed expectations of a drop to 4.9% and stayed flat at 5.0%.

The March 215K job growth was revised lower to 208K, while the February was also revised lower from 242K to 233K for a net -19K drop.

Worse, the household survey suggested that a whopping 316K jobs were lost in April, as the total number of employed dropped from 151,320 to 151,004.

Looking at the job quality, while part-time jobs declined by 21K, it was the full-time jobs that saw a major drop of 253K in April (per the Household Survey), confirming that the US simply can not sustain normal, "full-time" job growth.

The silver lining was that unlike last month, wage growth was more stable on both an average hourly and weekly basis, with average hourly earnings rising 0.3%, as expected, and up from a downward revised 0.2% in March. Curiously, last month's big drop in average weekly earnings was revised higher to 2.1%, while in April weekly earnings rose 2.6%, the highest since last October.

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According to the BLS, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 160,000 in April. Over the prior  12 months, employment growth had averaged 232,000 per month. In April, employment gains occurred in professional and business services, health care,  and financial activities, while mining continued to lose jobs. (See table B-1.)

The breakdown:

Professional and business services added 65,000 jobs in April. The industry added an average of 51,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. In April,  job gains occurred in management and technical consulting services (+21,000)  and in computer systems design and related services (+7,000).

In April, health care employment rose by 44,000, with most of the increase  occurring in hospitals (+23,000) and ambulatory health care services (+19,000). Over the year, health care employment has increased by 502,000.

Employment in financial activities rose by 20,000 in April, with credit intermediation and related activities (+8,000) contributing to the gain. Financial activities has added 160,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Mining employment continued to decline in April (-7,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, employment in mining has decreased by 191,000, with more than three-quarters of the loss in support activities for mining.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in April. The manufacturing workweek and overtime remained unchanged at 40.7 hours and 3.3 hours, respectively. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents to $25.53, following an increase of 6 cents in March. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $21.45.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from +245,000 to +233,000, and the change for March was revised from +215,000 to +208,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 19,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 200,000 per month.