U.S. employers added 211,00 jobs in April—well above the consensus forecast of 185,000. February’s number was revised upward, and March’s total downward, for a net change of 6,000 fewer jobs. Wages grew by 7 cents per hour in April and the trailing 12-month increase slowed slightly for a second consecutive month, to 2.5%. The unemployment rate fell to 4.4% and the labor force participation rate dropped slightly, to 62.9%.
After a lull in March, April saw employment growth rebound. The rolling three-month average was virtually unchanged at 174,000 jobs per month and the average for the past 12 months is 186,000—so employers have not materially changed their hiring patterns. Notwithstanding the change in business and consumer sentiment since Donald Trump’s election, economic data in 2017 remain very similar to those at the end of the Obama administration.