Economy added 263,000 jobs in April, unemployment falls to lowest level since 1969
The economy added a healthy 263,000 jobs in April, firmly beating analyst expectations of 190,000, according to Friday’s monthly snapshot from the Department of Labor.
The nation's unemployment level fell to 3.6 percent, the lowest since 1969, and monthly wage growth hit 0.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While some of those job gains can be attributed to government hiring of the first wave of temporary workers to carry out the 2020 Census — a number that will eventually hit 500,000 by early next year — April's figures are a firm indication that the economy remains on a robust growth track.
The manufacturing sector saw an increase in job losses, likely related to President Donald Trump’s tit-for-tat trade war with China and the resulting tariffs. The retail industry also continues to bleed, having lost more than 30,000 jobs in just the first four months of this year.
Construction added 33,000 jobs in April, and health care rose by 27,000.
"The economy is in solid shape, the labor market is the tightest in 50 years and getting tighter, and interest rates are low," said Greg McBride, Bankrate's chief financial analyst.
Still, with an average of just 180,000 jobs added per month, 2019 lags behind 2018, when 225,000 jobs were added each month. February saw just 33,000 job gains. Around 100,000 jobs must be added each month in order to balance out population growth.