Only 138,000 New Jobs In April
Economists were expecting the April jobs report to come out today and show at least 200,000 new jobs were added last month.
Instead, only 138,000 new jobs were added, and the previously announced job numbers for February and March were revised downward. The preliminary three-month average over Feburary-April comes in at less than 180,000, not exactly a strong number this far into a Bush recovery.
The only bright spot was that manufacturing picked up last month but retail and services fell. Also, average hourly earnings over the last 12 months came in at 3.8%, the highest number since 2001, but still sure to fall behind now-rising gas prices. Of course, good news for workers means to some observers that the Fed will keep raising rates now over fears of inflation, at a time when hiring seems to be slacker than was initially advertised. However, the currency traders this morning saw the dollar drop against the yen and Euro over concerns that the Fed would interpret the job numbers as a sign of weakness in the economy and put on hold any additional rate increase in June. So, will the Fed worry more about inflation or slowing growth?
Sounds like a recipe for an iffy summer.