The American economy gained 263,000 jobs last month. We need 90,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth, which means that net job growth clocked in at 173,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent.
It’s an odd jobs report this month. The size of the labor force dropped by almost half a million, and both the number of employed people and the number of unemployed people went down. The employment-population ratio remained unchanged from last month. Still, job growth was pretty strong, and our economic expansion appears to be rolling along without any letup.
Average hourly earnings of blue-collar workers went up at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent compared to March, which is very good considering that the inflation rate is very low. Here’s the year-over-year growth in blue-collar wages over the past few years:
The last six months have all seen wage growth higher than 1 percent. That’s pretty good if we can keep it up.