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Employment Gains Rebound in April; March’s Disappointing Report Was An ‘Aberration’

jobs [1]Payrolls increased nationwide in April by 223,000, rebounding from March's disappointing showing [2], according to the April 2015 Employment Situation [3] released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS [4]).

The nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged from March to April at 5.4 percent. One occupation that experienced gains in April was construction, which increased by 45,000 during the month after changing little in March. Construction has added 280,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

"Today’s April jobs report suggests that the weak hiring in March was an aberration," said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. "The snapback in construction employment, the biggest gain since the start of 2014, supports our view that a weather-boost impact will show up in the current quarter economic growth. The strengthening in overall hiring is in line with our forecast for a moderate rebound in economic activity, though not quite the bounce-back we saw a year ago, as the economy is facing more than just transitory headwinds."

The civilian labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent for April, little changed from March, and has hovered between 62.7 percent and 62.9 percent since April 2014, according to BLS. The employment-population ratio was unchanged from March to April at 59.3 percent and has been at this level since January. The number of people unemployed jumped by 241,000 in April, up to 2.7 million, according to BLS.

March's already low reported job gains total of 126,000 was revised even further lower in April's report, down to 85,000. Combined with February's job gains revision from 264,000 to 266,000 in April, employment gains in February and March combined were 39,000 lower than originally reported. Job gains have averaged 191,000 per month over the past three months.

The average hourly wage for employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents in April, up to $24.87, and it has increased by 2.2 percent over the last 12 months. For nonsupervisory employees, the average hourly wage rose by 2 cents up to $20.90 in April.

"With today’s report, we are comfortable with our call for a September liftoff in the fed funds rate," Duncan said. "While wage gains remain muted, reflected by the trend-like rise in average hourly earnings of little more than 2.0 percent, accelerating growth in broader measures, such as the Employment Cost Index and the continued decline in the unemployment rate, point to a tighter labor market."