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Tipsheet

April Jobs Report Shows Real Wages Down 3%

AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate stayed at the previous month's 3.6 percent according to new data out Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that again showed America's workforce still has not recovered to the level it was at in February 2020 before the pandemic.

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The Department of Labor reported that 5.9 million Americans were unemployed, 200,000 more than before the pandemic. 1.5 million of out of work Americans were considered "long-term" unemployed — 362,000 more than before COVID hit the United States. Meanwhile the labor force participation rate in April was 62.2 percent, a 0.2 percent decrease from March and 1.2 percent lower than February 2020. The number of Americans not in the labor force who want a job numbered 5.9 million in April, 900,000 more than before the pandemic. 

"This participation rate stinks, it's going in the wrong direction," said Brian Brenberg, executive vice president of The King's College in New York. He noted that while there are still more than 11 million open jobs in the country, companies still "cannot get people off the sidelines."

Of those out of work and on the sidelines Brenberg mentioned, 586,000 were prevented from looking from work due to the pandemic more than two years after COVID hit. 

Average hourly wages for American workers increased by ten cents, 0.3 percent, in April for a year-over-year increase of 5.5 percent that still trails consumer inflation by three percent. Steve Moore noted of the reported wage growth that the "8.5 percent inflation is just a wrecking ball for the economy" as Americans' real wages continue to go negative under President Biden's economy policies.

So while the Biden administration is likely to brag about another jobs report showing job growth, April's number again shows that the economy has not yet been built back to where it was before the pandemic, let alone better, as a greater number of Americans remain on the sidelines and those who do have jobs find their wages being outpaced by consumer inflation that's stayed at 40-year highs. 

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Even Obama-era Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee reacted to Friday's jobs data for April saying "in a way it's the Goldilocks report, but it's Goldilocks in an awful situation."

And, with the midterms barely six months away, CNN couldn't ignore the fact that a "majority of Americans actually think President Biden's policies have hurt the economy — they don't feel like he is doing enough on inflation."

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