Updated May 5, 2023 - Economy

U.S. labor market booms in April, adding 253,000 jobs

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The labor market added 253,000 payrolls in April, while the unemployment rate dipped to 3.4% — a historically low level.

Why it matters: Job growth continued to boom last month, the latest sign that the economy has strong momentum despite recent bank failures.

  • Economists expected a gain of 185,000 jobs last month.

Details: The April job figures are a pickup from the 165,000 jobs added the previous month, which were revised down by 71,000, the Labor Department said on Friday.

  • The Labor Department said that jobs growth in the previous two months was lower than first estimated: jobs growth was revised down by a combined 149,000 for February and March.

The big picture: In recent months, more Americans have joined the workforce, helping to ease labor force shortages.

  • The labor force participation rate — or the share of workers employed or looking for work — held at 62.6% in April.
  • Average hourly earnings, a measure of wage growth, rose to 0.5% in March. Wages rose 4.4% from the same time last year.

Where it stands: The Federal Reserve has been concerned about an out-of-balance labor market that it fears could stoke inflation that's already running high.

  • But Fed chair Jerome Powell said this week that there were signs that the workforce was "coming back into better balance," though it remained "very tight."

Editor's note: This story was updated with a chart showing monthly job growth.

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