Economy-wide job gains helped the labor market show resilience in the face of a banking crisis and growing recession concerns.
nonfarm payrolls increased by 253,000 in AprilAccording to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday. This is higher than the Dow Jones estimate of 180,000.
Friday’s data lends credence to the argument that the labor market remains particularly strong despite signs of a slowdown in the broader economy.
Nearly 1 in 4 new jobs were in health care and social assistance, with nearly 64,200 added in the month. About 24,000 of those new jobs were in ambulance services alone. Nursing and residential care facility payroll increased by 9,000, while hospital payroll increased by 7,000 compared to the previous month.
Despite being the sector with the most growth over the past month, health care still added fewer jobs than average over the past six months. But the social assistance sector saw above-average growth over that time period, helped by gains in the personal and family services sub-industry.
Professional and business services saw the second biggest increase of 43,000 in April, which is more than the average number of jobs added in the previous half year. This sector accounted for the bulk of the gains, with an increase of 45,000 in professional, scientific and technical services jobs. But temporary service roles continued to decline, with a month-on-month loss of 23,300, putting the sub-sector’s total workforce at around 175,000 jobs at its peak in March 2022.
“No job report is perfect,” said Nick Bunker, head of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “The continued decline in temporary support services employment may start to ring some traditional recessionary alarm bells, but given the rapid pace of hiring in recent years, it may be another sign of moderation in general.”
April’s broad gains in some ways made up for the declines seen in previous months for a handful of industries. Manufacturing gained 15,000 jobs in April after losing 11,000 in March. Payrolls linked to financial activity jobs increased by 23,000 in April, more than erasing the deficit after a modest 1,000 decrease in the previous month.
And despite broad gains across sectors, overall employment growth has been relatively muted. Bunker noted that the three-month moving average declined with the April data to 222,000, less than half the size from a year earlier. Growth is still high enough to keep the unemployment rate steady, he said, but signs of moderation could show the Federal Reserve that the famously hot labor market is actually showing signs of cooling.
“Employees, employers and policy makers should be encouraged about the current situation,” Bunker said. “But it is not clear how much longer this can be tolerated.”
— CNBC’s Gabriel Cortes contributed to this report.