Employment Growth Slows Modestly
Bloomberg.com: Top Worldwide: Employers in the U.S. added fewer jobs than expected last month, and wages jumped by the most in almost five years, government figures showed today. The unemployment rate held at 4.7 percent.
The 138,000 gain in payrolls for April followed a revised 200,000 increase the month before and was the smallest increase since October, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Average wages were up 3.8 percent from April 2005, the biggest gain since August 2001.
The slowdown in hiring suggests record gasoline prices and rising borrowing costs are forcing companies to rein in costs to maintain profits. Hourly earnings increased as factories, which tend to pay higher wages than service providers such as retailers, added the most jobs in almost two years. Retail employment dropped by the most since September.
``Average hourly wages are rising but it's because of the shift,'' in demand for employees in higher-paying jobs, Anthony Chan, chief economist at JPMorgan Private Client Services in Columbus, Ohio, said before the report.
Economists expected payrolls to rise by 200,000, according to the median of 71 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, after an originally reported 211,000 gain in March. Estimates ranged from increases of 165,000 to 250,000. Economists at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton said a typical range between the low and high forecast is about 150,000...