April Results Stronger Than Anticipated

Posted by Bruce W. Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015


The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in April, but the unemployment rate rose for the first time in five months. Many economists expressed surprise at the higher than expected hiring result and believe that the economy is growing more slowly than the April employment numbers indicate. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 244,000 last month, as the private sector posted the strongest employment gain in five years, the Labor Department said Friday in its survey of employers. Private-sector employers, which account for about 70% of the work force, added 268,000 jobs in April -- the biggest rise since February 2006. The unemployment rate, obtained from a separate household survey, rose to 9% from 8.8% in March. It was the first increase in the jobless rate since November, when it hit 9.8%. Retail sales were also strong in April with retailers announcing increased consumer purchases. Target Store sales increased 13.1%, Costco 12%, Macy's 10.8%, Kohl's 10%, Nordstrom 7.6%, and J.C. Penny 6.4% compared with April last year. A survey of U.S. consumers indicates that 43% are feeling a “significant impact” from higher gasoline prices, but consumers seemed to put this concern aside for the retail period immediately after Easter.

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