Friday's report continued to show stable job growth nationwide for the seventh consecutive month. Previous reports showed growth of about 430,000 jobs in March, close to 700,000 in February and nearly 470,000 in January. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
May 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy added almost 430,000 jobs during the month of April, the Labor Department said in its monthly report on Friday -- solidly exceeding most economists' expectations and showing that the job market remains strong.
The department said there was an addition of 428,000 hirings for the month. Most analysts expected the report would show about 400,000 new jobs.
Friday's report also said that the national unemployment rate was unchanged in April.
"The unemployment rate remained at 3.6% in April, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 5.9 million," the department said in a statement. "These measures are little different from their values in February 2020 (3.5% and 5.7 million, respectively), prior to the coronavirus pandemic."
The Labor Department data continued to show stable job growth nationwide for the seventh consecutive month. Previous reports showed growth of about 430,000 in March, close to 700,000 in February and nearly 470,000 in January. The figures for the first two months of the year significantly surpassed expectations.
Friday's report came during a week of a number of economic developments. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday increased interest rates by a half-point, the largest single hike in 22 years, and the Labor Department said earlier this week that there were a record 11.5 million job openings at the start of April.
Friday's report came days after the department said that there were a record 11.5 million job openings in the U.S. at the start of April after more than 6 million separations. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
The department's JOLTS report also noted that there were 6.3 million separations during the month of March, meaning that there were two open jobs for every unemployed American at the start of April.
ADP and Moody's Analytics reported on Wednesday that the economy added roughly 250,000 private jobs in April. Data from the ADP-Moody's report differ slightly from the Labor Department's jobs report each month.
President Joe Biden was expected to speak more about the jobs report on Friday during a visit to Ohio.
"Our plans and policies have produced the strongest job creation economy in modern times," the president said in a statement.
"There have been only 3 months in the last 50 years where the unemployment rate in America is lower than it is now. This is a direct result of the American Rescue Plan, our COVID vaccination program, and my plan to grow our economy from the bottom up and middle out."
Friday's report came amid national concern about rising inflation, which has increased over the past 12 months by the steepest amount in 40 years. The Fed's action on Wednesday was designed to rein in rising prices that are typically influenced by consumer spending.
Some analysts have noted that, traditionally, significant job growth sometimes influences inflation.
"The labor market continues to barrel along," Moody's Chief Economist Mark Zandi said according to CNBC. "We need it, at this point in time, to slow down a bit because we're going to blow past full employment and inflation is going to become a bigger problem than it already is.
"Ultimately, we need to get to something that's closer to no more than 100,000 a month."
Other experts say, however, that job growth isn't significantly affecting inflation in the present, and unique, economic climate.
"The labor market is on track for a historically fast and full recovery by the end of 2022," Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote in a blog post.
"The large increase in inflation since early 2021 has clearly not been driven by labor market trends," she added. "In fact, despite being high relative to the recent historical past, nominal wage growth today by every measure is lagging inflation, leading to real wage losses for workers. This is very different than the behavior of wages in previous periods when the unemployment rate was very low and the economy was heating up.
"This lagging of nominal wage growth behind price growth has actually dampened inflation so far in this recovery. Tracking this growth going forward is key to deciding whether inflation will stay very high (or even accelerate) or will begin to relent."
Biden promised that his administration is prepared to do more to mitigate rising prices, including a new initiative announced Friday to use 3D printing to get control of costs.
"There's no question that inflation and high prices are a challenge for families across the country, and fighting inflation is a top priority for me," he added in his statement. "There's more work to do.
"I encourage congressional Republicans to join us in our efforts to lower prices for families across the country, by making more in America, strengthening our supply chains, and cutting the energy and prescription drug costs."