5 things to watch for in Friday’s US jobs report for April

After a hiring slowdown in March, the U.S. job market is thought to have resumed solid growth in April, a trend that would help underpin an economic rebound after a weak start to the year.

Employers probably added 185,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet, a data provider. That would be nearly double the 98,000 jobs added in March — a slump that economists attributed largely to a snowstorm that struck some areas of the country just as the government was collecting its hiring data.

The unemployment rate is predicted to have ticked up to 4.6 percent from 4.5 percent in March, the lowest in a decade.

The April jobs report will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

Stronger hiring would help assuage concerns that the economy is stumbling, nearly eight years into its recovery from the Great Recession. Growth slowed to an annual rate of just 0.7 percent in the January-March quarter, the government has estimated, from a 2.1 percent rate in the previous quarter.

Consumers, despite registering strong confidence, barely increased their spending last quarter. The 0.3 percent annualized rise in their spending in the January-March period was the smallest quarterly gain in more than seven years.

Car sales have also hit a rut, potentially hurting auto factories and their parts suppliers. Auto purchases fell in April for a fourth straight month — the first time that has happened since the recession.

Still, some positive signs suggest that growth is rebounding in the current April-June quarter, with some economists forecasting that it could top a 3 percent annual rate. Last quarter, consumers spent less in part because of low utility bills during an unseasonably warm winter. That’s likely to prove a temporary restraint.

And the housing market is reaching new heights as home sales and construction march upward even though a limited number of properties are for sale. Sales of existing homes jumped in March to their highest level in more than a…

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