April 2018 Jobs Report: Another Miss

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 164,000 jobs in April and hourly wage rose by 2.6 percent year-over-year.

The unemployment rate fell from 4.1 percent - for the first time in six months - to 3.9 percent.

Samra added: "There are plenty of other tailwinds which can also help to elongate the USA bull market, such as recent tax cuts, solid corporate earnings, strong year-on-year growth for the S&P 500, still relatively low interest rates, and inflation that is tame enough-albeit rising-to keep the Federal Reserve from having to tap the brakes more strongly".

But the Labor Department, which released the latest jobs data Friday, revised its number jobs figures upwards for March.

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The Fed said that the USA labor market continues to strengthen, and today's jobs report is more evidence of that. Walmart's minimum wage hike to $11 an hour has contributed to the same kind of dynamic early this year. The change in hourly earnings varied from month to month a year ago, but hovered around 2.5 percent, barely keeping up with inflation.

"Notably, nominal wage growth continues to fall short, rising only 2.6% over the year".

Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents, settling at $26.84. Both the African-American unemployment rate and the Hispanic unemployment rate are at the lowest level ever recorded.

Mining, a category that includes not just coal and metals but jobs in oil and gas fields, added 8,000 positions, partly because of a rise in oil prices. Although there was an increase in wages, we would like to see more wage growth.

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Despite the numbers, last month's growth paled in comparison with the average monthly gain of 191,000 jobs over the past year.

The largest jobs increase in April was in professional and business services, 54,000 jobs, followed by manufacturing and health care at 24,000 jobs each, according to the May 4 report. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 30,000 more than previously reported. "Our takeaway from the report is that recent economic conditions support a gradual pace of monetary tightening". Faster inflation could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more quickly than planned.

The drop in the unemployment rate may be partly explained by a contraction in the labour force (data showed that 236,000 Americans exited the labour force in April).

The fall in the unemployment rate was also boosted by a drop in the labour force participation rate - the percentage of people who are now employed or in search of a job. Higher wages would most likely help, but it would also help to understand better the noneconomic reasons those people aren't working and how these might be overcome.

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