US added 160,000 jobs in April; jobless rate 5%

This is the weakest gain since September, which The Wall Street Journal said is a sign that employers may be turning cautious after the economy slowed early in the year.

PTI| Last Updated: May 07, 2016, 00:34 AM IST

Washington: American businesses created 160,000 new jobs in last month and the unemployment rate in the world's biggest economy was unchanged at 5 percent, a government report said.

This is the weakest gain since September, which The Wall Street Journal said is a sign that employers may be turning cautious after the economy slowed early in the year.

In its monthly report, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 160,000 in April and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5 per cent.

Job gains occurred in professional and business services, healthcare and financial activities. Job losses continued in mining, it said.

In a statement, Jason Furman said the economy added 160,000 jobs in April, extending the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record, as wage growth picked up.

"US businesses have now added 14.6 million jobs over 74 straight months of job growth. Most importantly, average hourly earnings for private employees have increased 3.2 per cent at an annual rate so far in 2016," he said.

"Nevertheless, more work remains to sustain faster wage growth and to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared, including investing in infrastructure and job training, implementing high-standards free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and raising the minimum wage," Furman said.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said the latest figures shows that the economy is not living up to its potential, "In fact, labor force participation is headed in the wrong direction".

"As we learned from the GDP report released last week, our economy grew at the slowest rate in two years. Growth has never reached three per cent during the Obama Administration ? and that's the worst performance since the Great Depression," Brady said.

If America continues down this low-growth path, families will continue to struggle. We have to reverse course and take action to grow our economy so that all Americans have a chance to advance in their careers, earn more money and support their families," he said.

This disappointing jobs report shows this is a hollow recovery that has left too many Americans behind, said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

"Eight years of liberal Democrat policies have failed to produce prosperity for middle class families. President (Barack) Obama has delivered the weakest period of growth since the 1930s, but Hillary Clinton thinks he doesn't get enough credit and wants to double down on his failed agenda," Priebus said.

However, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said April's jobs report shows the economy continues to move forward.

"Yet the obstructionist Republican Congress continues to stand in the way of creating more good-paying jobs and growing the paychecks of working Americans," Pelosi added.