The unemployment rate is down

US job market: even solid figures can be disappointing

The biggest gains were in professional/business services (up 44,000 jobs) and trade/transportation/utilities (up 40,000 jobs), it said.

In April, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, following 6 months at 4.1 percent. Also, 236,000 people left the labor force last month.

What's different from 2016 is that now the jobless rate is almost a percentage point lower, meaning more competition for workers.

The unemployment rate is the lowest since December 2000. The unemployment rate for high-school dropouts rose slightly, to 5.8 percent. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 340,000. The employment-population ratio, another broad measure of labor-market health, fell to 60.3 percent from 60.4 percent.

Employers added 168,000 jobs in April, fewer than the expected 193,000, partly because "cool weather may have reduced hiring in construction and other sectors", in a research report obtained from Citibank.

Despite the ultra-tight jobs market, wages for American workers still aren't rising rapidly.

Actually, the biggest challenge faced is by those now in the labor force.

"Total nonfarm payroll jobs have now increased every month since October 2010", said First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming in a report.

Unemployment hasn't stayed below four percent for a sustained period since the 1960s.

Among the marginally attached, there were 408,000 discouraged workers in April, little changed from a year earlier. People tend to be willing to leave their jobs when they're sure they can easily find another.

Worker pay rose in April, but the gains are still fairly modest.

The legal sector employed 1,136,300 people in April, according to the monthly jobs report from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the US may be technically at full employment, according to the definition, I won't be convinced until paychecks start increasing.

Another month, another lackluster jobs number ...

But a sobering dose of truth serum revealed that the Black unemployment rate was still seemingly eons away from being on a par with White and Asian workers, diluting the president's obligatory self-congratulating tweets. On Friday, BLS also reported a downward revision for March's employment figures compared with what it originally reported last month.

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