U.S. Employment Engine Revs Up Even More in April

May 7, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The long slumbering U.S. job production machine continued its trek back to life in April with the second straight month of super-healthy employment numbers - 288,000 workers added to non-farm payrolls.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DoL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that non-farm employers in nearly every segment of the economy brought on new workers. To add even more of a roar to the domestic employment machine’s new-found energy, BLS also revised up its previously announced March numbers (See  Job Market Roars to LIfe in March– from 308,000 to 337,000 – and February’s from 46,000 to 83,000.   

March and April’s back-to-back non-farm job gains were the strongest the nation has seen since 2000, BLS said. Finally, in the very good news department came word that April’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.6% from 5.7% the month before.

The latest data showed that there were 21,000 new jobs in manufacturing on top of 9,000 in March, a third straight month that this sector increased after a long period of decline. April employment also rose substantially in several service industries and construction firms continued to add jobs, the government said.

Economists participating in Reuters regular survey had forecast 173,000 new jobs would be created in April and that the unemployment rate would be unchanged at 5.7%.

In related good news, the DoL announced Thursday that first-time jobless benefits claims for the week ending May 1 were down 25,000 – the third straight weekly decline (See  Jobless Claims totals Continue Southward Journey ).