April 2014 jobs numbers

In April, the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs, the highest number of jobs added in any month in the past two years, Fox News reported.

Along with the jobs added, unemployment also ticked down to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent, although part of this decrease can be accounted for by factoring in those who are no longer working or those seeking employment.

Wages also did not expand during April, The New York Times reported, which may cause Americans to wonder if they are really benefiting from the availability of more jobs as the economy attempts to jump back to life.

However, job creation is accelerating. In the previous three months, employers added an average of 238,000 jobs, a figure of 167,000 jobs higher than the average for the November-January period.

These added jobs include higher paying positions, such as 12,000 in the manufacturing industry, 32,000 in the construction industry and 25,100 positions in professional and technical services. Most of the positions added were in professional and business services, with 75,000 positions added.

The total growth rate is up for the U.S. economy too.

After barely growing at all from January to March (an average annual growth rate of 0.1 percent), it appears the U.S. economy will expand at around 3.5 percent during the April-June period.

The annual rate of growth is now expected to reach 3 percent on the year, a 1.9 percent increase from growth in 2013.

R-MC Professor of Political Science Dr. Elliott Fullmer told The Yellow Jacket that although he believes the number of individuals leaving the job search is certainly a cause for concern, he also believes there are some positive elements in the latest jobs data.

“I think it’s true that we still should be concerned about the number of people leaving the job market, giving up the search,” Fullmer said.” However, the recent report was encouraging. When you look at the measure of the percentage of people that are either unemployed or have part time work that would like to have full time work, or who have dropped out of the job market, that dropped from 12.7 percent to 12.3 percent. So there’s progress on that front but obviously those numbers are too high for comfort.”

Fullmer also noted that the jobs reports can be somewhat shaky evidence to base long-term conclusions on when they are brought into the political arena.

“These jobs reports are very much estimates on a month to month basis,” Fullmer said. “We’ve really seen in the last couple of years these reports become political talking points, when in reality they often go back and revise the reports majorly in the months that follow and suddenly what looked like a really awful report may end up being a good month and vice-versa.”

This expansion in growth also comes with a 0.5 percent rise in income for Americans in March, the most the country has seen since last August.

Some data indicate the economy had already begun expanding in March, even if it was not reflected in the headline numbers.

Consumer spending was up at shopping malls in March, and more cars were sold than in previous months. Overall spending was at its highest point in two years during March.

The New York Times reported job numbers for March were recorded a week earlier than usual to accommodate Easter, so seasonal workers and high school graduates may have been excluded from the labor force.

“It’s a huge Rorschach test for everyone who is reading it,” Guy Berger, a U.S. economist at RBS told the New York Times. “People expecting a spring rebound are zeroing in on the payroll advance, while pessimists are looking at the household survey and the decline in the participation rate.”

 

-Henry Ashton ’15, Senior Politics/Opinions Editor

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