May 04, 2018

Putting U.S. Employment Numbers in Context – April 2018

Post by Derek Yale

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate for April 2018 decreased to 3.9 percent, the lowest rate since December 2000, and that the economy gained 164,000 jobs. The number of jobs added during March was revised up to 135,00 total jobs for an average of roughly 200,000 jobs created per month so far this year. Further, the number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level since 1973.

With the unemployment rate dropping to the lowest rate in over 17 years and for the first time this year, today’s report further shows the positive movements in the labor force during the Trump administration’s first fifteen months. During that time, average hourly earnings for all private sector employees rose roughly 3.3 percent, signaling a strong turnaround for workers after years of stagnant wage growth. Additionally, the economy gained more than 2.7 million jobs, at an average rate of 181,867 jobs per month, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.9 percentage points. The largest private sector job gains were seen in education and health services, as well as professional and business services.

While the full potential of the Tax and Cuts and Jobs Act will be realized over the long-term, there’s no denying the positive impact it’s already having just three months since being signed into law. This historic legislation is already spurring job creation, making businesses more competitive, and improving the lives of millions of Americans. To date, close to 400 businesses have already announced plans to invest in the economy and give more money back to employees.

Below is a deeper look at the numbers from today’s report, what they say about the state of the U.S. labor market, and how the Trump administration is tracking after the first year.