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Investing Specialists

Under the Surface, a Ho-Hum April for Employment

More than a million nonseasonally adjusted new jobs is actually nothing special, and the quality of the gains was quite poor.

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Despite some eye-popping nonseasonally adjusted job gains reported in April (over 1 million jobs), the seasonally adjusted job gains were nothing special at 211,000. That gain, though beating the consensus forecast, was one of the lowest-quality reports we have seen in some time. The low-wage leisure and hospitality sector led the way, with gains of 55,000. Higher-wage goods-producing jobs slowed during the month.

The news outside the employment sector wasn't great, either. Motor vehicle sales continued to slow, and unit sales on a seasonally adjusted, annual rate basis remained below 17 million units. Construction spending also contracted in March after some decent gains earlier in the year. Purchasing manager data in April for manufacturing also dropped, finally mirroring some of the slower manufacturing employment numbers and order data.

Robert Johnson, CFA does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.