Join The Discussion

 

Two from Fort Worth appointed by Gov. Abbott to university boards

Steve Hicks, a University of Texas System regent who has been a vocal opponent of regents who have criticized the system’s flagship campus in Austin, was reappointed to the board by Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday. 

read more >

Fort Worth draws closer to deal with Lancaster developer

City staff are planning to introduce the developer Feb. 3 at a meeting of the City Council's Housing and Economic Development Committee.

read more >

Compass BBVA names Happel CEO for Fort Worth

BBVA Compass has appointed Brian Happel, most recently the Fort Worth city president, its chief executive officer of Fort Worth.

read more >

Fort Worth minority business receives nationwide grant

Cuevas Distribution Inc., a minority- and woman-owned business in Fort Worth, is one of 20 small businesses nationwide to receive a $150,000 grant from Chase as part of the Mission Main Street program.

read more >

Arlington's Entertainment District moves forward

Arlington is moving closer to developing its Entertainment District north of AT&T Stadium.

read more >

 

Hiring is up in April, unemployment down

 

Annalyn Kurtz

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The jobs recovery is chugging along, but the labor market remains far from fully healed from the crisis.

The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest month for job growth in two years, the Department of Labor said Friday. That number blew away economists' forecasts, and stocks rose following the news, although they have since fallen back.

The oft-quoted unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, down from 6.7% in March.

The severe winter had been holding back many economic statistics, as snowstorms slowed the housing market, retail sales and manufacturing. On Friday, the jobs numbers were revised higher for both February and March, showing the economy is over that winter lull.

"I'm very happy. It's good to see the economy kicking into gear and that we've really gotten past the weather issue," said John Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo.

That said, the unemployment rate told a more discouraging story. That number, which comes from a survey of households, shows fewer Americans are joining the labor force and fewer people report they're employed. These trends led to the unemployment rate falling to 6.3%, its lowest level since September 2008.

"The drop in participation is not due to discouraged workers leaving the labor force," a Department of Labor spokesperson noted, "it's due to re-entrants and new entrants who we expected to see flowing into the labor force, and who didn't this month."

This could mean fewer young people are entering the job market for the first time, and more seniors are retiring and staying that way. That said, participation also fell among the prime working-age population, and that's a discouraging sign, said Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial.

"These are our 'learners and earners' in society," she wrote in a blog post. "They should be in the prime of their careers; instead, they are un- or underemployed, struggling with a debilitating overhang of student debt and in a sad reflection of our economy, some are giving up entirely."

Economists also caution not to read too much into just one month of data. The big picture remains the same.

"The employment data can fluctuate from month to month, and while this month's report happens to be above expectations, it is still broadly consistent with the recent trends we have been seeing in the labor market," Jason Furman, top economic adviser to President Obama, wrote in a White House blog post.

Given the millions of jobs lost in the financial crisis, even solid hiring is still not enough to put the huge backlog of unemployed Americans back to work right away. The jobs recovery has dragged on for four years now, and long-term unemployment remains elevated with 3.5 million people out of a job for six months or more.

Economists estimate it could take at least another two years until the job market returns to its pre-recession health, when the unemployment rate was around 4% to 5%.

The good news is, the recovery is now broad-based across many industries.

One of the strongest sectors for job growth, for example, is professional and business services. The industry added 75,000 jobs in April. Over the last 12 months, it has added more than 660,000 jobs. Many of these are likely to be office jobs paying mid- to high-level wages.

Retail, restaurants and bars -- traditionally low-wage industries -- have also accounted for strong job growth, and blue-collar industries like manufacturing and construction are on the upswing.

The only major sector that continues to cut jobs is the federal government, which slashed 83,000 positions over the last 12 months.

< back

Email   email
hide
Catch
How 'bout them Cowboys?