Much like the twists and turns on popular TV shows today like “Game of Thrones” or “Scandal,” the BLS monthly jobs reports tend to evoke a roller coaster of emotions ranging from happiness, to disbelief, to disappointment, to gratitude, to anger, to confusion. And the April jobs report released this morning was no different. As you may know, following each month’s jobs report, we read dozens of news reports, scour the Web, and break what we find down to three key talking points you can use. Whether you’re taking a break at the office water cooler or conversing with peers in the industry, you’ll have three conversation starters in your pocket.
HERE’S THE NEWS YOU CAN USE FROM TODAY’S RELEASE:
1. Good news! (But is it really?) If you awoke to joyous Twitter banter this morning, it may have been people rejoicing about the April jobs report. U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs in April, which is a whole lot more than the 218,000 economists were initially expecting. Even better, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent, which is the lowest it’s been since September 2008. BUT, like all good things there must be a catch, right? Right. (Thanks a lot, economy.)
2. People are dropping (out of the workforce) like flies. As it turns out, the catch to the low unemployment rate is the labor force participation rate, which has now fallen to approximately a 30-year low of 62.8 percent. The labor force shrank by 806,000 and the number of people who are employed dropped by 73,000. These reports are such a roller coaster of emotion, I tell ya.
3. We’re on a roll — sort of. March’s employment numbers were revised up, from 192,000 to 203,000 jobs. And so was February’s — from 197,000 to 222,000 jobs. These new revisions mean the U.S. economy has averaged 190,000 jobs over the past year, thanks to some math that Forbes kindly did. In April it was business services (75,000), retail trade (35,000) and construction (32,000) jobs that led the way.
In case you’re looking for handy, easily digestible charts from the just-released jobs report, Quartz has some with highlights.