Employment Picture Brighter in April

By Toni Vranjes

May 8, 2015

Last month, the job scene sprang back to life.

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department reported today. That’s quite a contrast from the month before, when the numbers were weak. Revised figures show that employers created only 85,000 jobs in March.

down_arrow_5_pt_4Unemployment fell from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent, as the labor force expanded by 166,000. The jobless rate is down to the lowest level in nearly seven years — although it’s important to keep in mind that the labor-force participation rate also has been on the decline.

Last month, professional and business services grew by 62,000. Other areas of growth included health care and construction, which each added 45,000 new jobs.

For March, the government initially reported job growth of 126,000, but it revised that figure down to 85,000. In a blog post, economist Diane Swonk said that the weather contributed to the weak job numbers in March, and that the April figures were a moderate improvement.

“The snapback was in places one would expect, such as construction and teachers at the state and local levels,” wrote Swonk, of Mesirow Financial. “Those sectors were hit by unusually bad winter weather. Schools in parts of the South, which remains ill-equipped to deal with snow and ice, were closed for extended periods.”

Looking ahead to coming months, Swonk said that chances are good for continued improvement in job creation.

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