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Tipsheet

The Latest Jobs Numbers Are in

The United States added 253,000 jobs in the month of April according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, moving the unemployment rate to 3.4 percent for the month.

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Estimates had hoped to see around 180,000 jobs added in April, which would have been the smallest monthly non-pandemic gain since December 2019. 

Even though April's top line number beat estimates, it still shows slowing job growth compared to the previous month. In March, the jobs report recorded 311,000 jobs added to the economy while the unemployment rate increased to 3.6 percent. 

What's more, the April report missed the monthly average gain of 290,000 jobs over the previous six months.

That means that the April jobs report mirrors, at least in direction, the advance estimate for first quarter GDP that saw economic growth slowing more than expected while inflation accelerated. The short and sweet takeaway: we're headed for more economic hardship.

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Despite President Joe Biden's promise to "build back better," April's job report saw two key metrics still remain below their pre-COVID levels recorded. "Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, were unchanged in April" and "below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels."

In addition, employment in the government and leisure and hospitality sectors remain below pre-pandemic levels. 

Other metrics also showed more movement in the wrong direction, such as the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job, which jumped 346,000 to a total of 5.3 million. In addition, those not in the labor force who wanted a job — considered "marginally attached" to the labor force — grew by 191,000 to 1.5 million in April.

Even though jobs were added, the average American worker's real wages are still in negative territory in a continuation of more than two years' worth of pay cuts as inflation outstripped wage growth. In April, wages increased by 16 cents for an annual increase of 4.4 percent.

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The most-recent Consumer Price Index reported inflation at 5.0 percent, meaning Americans are still earning negative real wages. 

The latest jobs report comes the same week that the Federal Reserve announced another 25 basis point increase to interest rates, their 10th consecutive increase, that put the target rate at its highest level since 2001. It also comes as the U.S. has seen three banks fail in the largest collapses since the financial crisis of 2008 while a number of others appear to have questionable futures. 

According to Biden, though, we've built back better, the banking system is sound and resilient, and this is the greatest economic comeback in United States history.

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