Washington: U.S. labor market improved somewhat last month, adding a solid 164,000 net jobs while the unemployment rate reached a new milestone, falling below 4% for the first time since 2000, the Labor Department said.
But while job growth rebounded from a disappointing March figure that was revised up Friday to 135,000, other aspects of the closely watched monthly report were lackluster. And the drop in the unemployment rate was mostly for a bad reason: The labor force shrank for the second month in a row.
Overall, the data show a labor market that remains resilient in the face of a potential global trade war but whose growth is slowing as the recovery from the Great Recession this month became the second-longest in U.S. history.
The April job gains were below analyst expectations of about 195,000. Still, with upward revisions of a total of 30,000 for February and March, job growth has averaged 200,000 a month this year — well above what’s needed to accommodate new entrants to the workforce.
The 3.9% unemployment rate in April set a new post-recession low. The rate hadn’t been below 4% since December 2000. And the unemployment rates for blacks and Latinos last month — 6.6% and 4.8%, respectively — were at their lowest levels since the Labor Department began tracking the figures in the early 1970s.