Updated May 3, 2024 - Economy

U.S. labor market slows in April, adding 175,000 jobs

The column chart shows the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls from October 2023 to April 2024, with the highest increase observed in March 2024 (+315,000) and the lowest in October 2023 (165,000). The most recent data in April 2024 shows an increase of 175,000 jobs in April.
Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9% from 3.8%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: Jobs growth slowed from the prior month's hot pace, but the data suggests that the labor market is still chugging along with healthy demand for workers.

  • The pace of hiring was notably slower than economists' estimate of 240,000 jobs in April.
  • Job gains in March were slightly better than previously thought, upwardly revised to 315,000 from 303,000—though payrolls in February were revised lower by 34,000 to 236,000.

Driving the news: The lower-than-expected job gains were concentrated in health care, social assistance, transportation and warehousing

  • Average hourly earnings, a measure of wage growth, rose 0.2%.
  • Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased 3.9%.

State of play: Friday's data is the latest evidence that the labor market is holding steady — an important development for the broader economy.

  • The Federal Reserve this week kept interest rates at the highest level in more than two decades.
  • Its policymakers suggested that any rate cuts would happen later than previously thought due to stalled progress on curbing inflation.
  • Fed chair Jerome Powell this week said that the central bank would be "prepared to respond to an unexpected weakening in the labor market."

Go deeper: Signs of lingering inflation: Worker pay pressures persist

Editor's note: This story was updated with a new chart and additional context.

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