The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Employment Situation data earlier today, and the numbers might seem a little bit confusing at first. About 244,000 new jobs were added nationwide in April, which marks the strongest three-month hiring level in five years, and is almost 60,000 jobs more than economists had predicted. But the unemployment rate nudged up a bit to 9.0 percent, up from 8.8 percent last month. So is it good news or bad news overall?
It’s actually pretty good news. There are a couple of reasons for the discrepancy between more jobs being added and the unemployment rate rising. One major factor is that these numbers are derived from two different respondent pools. Employers are surveyed to see how many jobs were added, while households are surveyed to see how many people are filing for unemployment.
Also, this month saw 113,000 people enter the job market who were not previously counted as unemployed. It’s a little early for graduates to be entering the workforce, so these 113,000 people might well have come from the rolls of the long-term unemployed, folks who have exhausted their benefits and thus have fallen off of the official unemployment count.
Staffing held pretty steady, adding about 34,000 jobs to the economy, the same number it added last month.
So we think this month’s employment situation is actually pretty good overall. Now, if we can just keep oil at below $100 a barrel…