America falls way short, adds fewer jobs than expected in April

Consider April’s job growth a wash.

The US economy added just 266,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate stunningly rose, despite forecasts predicting that America could add about a million jobs last month.

New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a pause after March’s strong hiring spree, where employers added 770,000 jobs, a revised total from the 916,000 reported last month.

March’s job growth was the highest total since August 2020, but the expected continued rebound took a slight halt even as vaccine rollout and the reopening of the economy continues.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in April, a slight increase from 6.0% in March.

Industries like leisure and hospitality saw growth, according to data, but were slightly offset by employment declines in temporary help services and in couriers and messengers.

Economists had anticipated to see job growth top 1 million, with Goldman Sachs economists saying they expected job growth of 1.3 million, according to CNBC.

The slowdown isn’t something to panic about yet.

“With most of the high-frequency indicators still pointing to further improvement and jobless claims falling like a stone in recent weeks, however, we doubt that it signals the recovery is at risk,” Capital Economics senior US economist Michael Pearce told CNN.

Weekly unemployment claims down again

While 266,000 jobs added in April falls well short of predictions, it isn’t a cause for concern considering growth of weekly unemployment claims.

Weekly claims for unemployment dropped once against to 490,000 for the week ended May 1, marking the fourth-straight week where jobless claims remained below 600,000.

The recovery piggybacks the previous low the week prior — 553,000 — and falls below 500,000 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“A bigger than expected decline in new jobless claims is a most pleasant surprise,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.

Hamrick added: “The healing of the job market, including reduction of unemployed and those seeking and receiving jobless aid, is as important an economic thread as any being monitored amid the reopening story.  Yes, there’s a great deal of uncertainty associated with all of this, but that must be viewed within the context of improvement overall.”