The job market recovered in April after getting roughed up in March. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 223,000 new jobs were added last month, matching consensus estimates. As it turns out, March was worse than initially reported-only
85,000 jobs were created, putting monthly job creation in the first quarter of 2015 at 191,000, down sharply from the average of nearly 260,000 in 2014.
The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.4 percent, the lowest level since May 2008. This time around, the unemployment rate slid for the right reason: 166,000 additional people entered the labor force and snagged jobs. The labor force participation rate (the number of Americans in the labor force or actively seeking employment) ticked up to 62.8 percent, near a 37-year low of 62.7 percent and within the narrow range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent for the past year.
Average earnings were up 2.2 percent from a year ago, up from 2.1 percent in March. But nearly six years after the official end of the recession, something exciting could happen: Americans may FINALLY get a raise! That’s a big deal, since according to Mohamed El-Erian’s comments at the LinkedIn FinanceConnect15 conference yesterday, most of the total income growth during this recovery has gone to the top 5 percent of earners. (I’ll have more from my interview with El-Erian later today!)