Economic forecasters were surprised when 2019's first quarter GDP growth clip surpassed expectations, hitting 3.2 percent in a report published late last month. Would the April jobs numbers put a damper on things by underwhelming the markets? Or might it achieve or even surpass the consensus estimate of 185,000 new jobs? This is a very big win for the US economy and workforce -- and it comes, as they so often say, "unexpectedly:"
APRIL JOBS DATA:— Kevin Cirilli (@kevcirilli) May 3, 2019
+263K jobs added to US economy in April, smashing expectations
3.6 percent unemployment, lowest since Dec. 1969
—> 3.1 percent unemployment for adult women... LOWEST for that demographic since 1953. @BloombergTV @BloombergRadio #breaking
Women weren't the only beneficiaries of this very strong performance:
The national seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos in the U.S. labor force fell to a record low of 4.2% in April, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released Friday show. In April, the unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos, aged 16 and up, was 4.2%, down from 4.7% in March – breaking the record low of 4.3% set two months earlier in February. BLS began tracking Hispanic-Latino employment data in 1973.
Some additional indicators:
Today's new 3.6% unemployment rate should continue the past few years' terrific trend where wages are finally growing at the bottom half - at a rate even faster than the top half. This chart is from Goldman Sachs' recent analysis of BLS data (h/t @JimPethokoukis) (1/2) pic.twitter.com/PQwG2kJDtv— Brian Riedl (@Brian_Riedl) May 3, 2019
The unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent, beating analysts' expectations of 3.8 percent. The labor force participation rate, meanwhile, was little changed at 62.8 percent, from 63 percent the month prior. Average hourly earnings – which investors were closely watching for signs of inflation – rose by 6 cents to $27.77. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by about 3.2 percent...
We're way past the "sugar high" many liberals shrugged off after the economy grew significantly in the wake of the GOP-passed tax reform law (already a vast departure from the doom and gloom many on the Left wrongly predicted). The more important question for 2020 -- with a clear majority of voters pleased with President Trump's economic job performance -- is whether this robust progress is sustainable. Some prognosticators seem to think that it is:
?? “We expect the unemployment rate to drop toward 3.0% next year, bringing the unemployment rate to levels not reached since the 1950s. If so, wage growth is likely to continue to firm over time.” - Barclays— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) May 3, 2019
JPMorgan: "The main takeaway from the [April job] numbers is that growth is on solid footing and risks of a sharp slowdown appear limited."— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) May 3, 2019
I'll leave you with a reminder that one of the bogus talking points used by some to pooh-pooh these great numbers is totally bunk:
I keep hearing people say "sure there's job growth, that's because we're all holding multiple jobs". The reality is that 5% of workers hold multiple jobs and that share has been stable.— Betsey Stevenson (@BetseyStevenson) May 3, 2019