US job growth eases to 115,000 in April, well below expectations

04 May 2012 14:43  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy added only 115,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department said on Friday, considerably less than the 170,000 boost in employment that many economists had expected and the third straight month of declining job growth.

In its monthly employment situation report, the department said that the nation’s unemployment rate edged slightly lower to 8.1% from the 8.2% jobless figure seen in March.

But that minor easing of the unemployment rate is not attributed to last month’s mediocre employment gain but rather to a reduction in the overall size of the US workforce as some people give up looking for work and drop out of the measured labour pool.

The US economy needs to add about 150,000 new jobs each month just to provide employment for young people entering the workforce. Economists say that to make any serious progress in reducing the unemployment rate, the country should generate 300,000-350,000 jobs per month for multiple quarters.

US employment had seen more or less steady improvement through the fourth quarter of 2011, with monthly job gains above 200,000 in December and reaching its most recent highpoint of around 260,000 new workers added to payrolls in January.

But the rate of jobs growth eased in February, and in March, and has edged lower still with the April employment report.

The weakening jobs numbers in the past three months comes amid other indications that the US economic recovery may be nearing a stall.

A real-time measure of goods deliveries declined in April, first quarter US gross domestic product (GDP) growth fell to 2.2% from the fourth quarter 2011 pace of 3%, and US small business owners reported reduced expectations for the nation’s economic prospects.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy


By: Joe Kamalick
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