April Jobs Report Mixes Good News With Bad

Unemployment rate 5.4%, 223K jobs added, but there's a but
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2015 8:00 AM CDT
April Jobs Report Mixes Good News With Bad
In this June 12, 2014, photo, people wait in line for the Cleveland Career Fair in Independence, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The unemployment rate fell from 5.5% to 5.4% in April and the economy added 223,000 jobs—pretty close to the 228,000 economists had expected—but elements of the jobs report weren't exactly encouraging. The number of new jobs added in March was revised way down, from an already-disappointing initial estimate of 126,000 to 85,000, which is the worst number we've seen since June 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports. As for February, its number was revised from 264,000 to 266,000—"a minor improvement that in no way makes up for the March mess," writes Erik Holm.

So far this year, the average number of jobs added each month is sitting at 193,000—compared to 2014's average of 260,000. The AP notes that the 5.4% unemployment rate is a seven-year low, but as Paul Vigna points out at the Journal, the labor force participation rate remained largely unchanged at 62.8%, about where it's sat for the past year—meaning that "there are millions of people out there, still, years after the official end of the recession, who aren't working or looking for work." If we had a higher participation rate, say, what it was in 2006, "the unemployment rate would be a couple of full percentage points higher." (More jobs report stories.)

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