Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

U.S. economy adds over 700,000 fewer jobs than expected: 'Thought this was a glitch on my computer'

The latest U.S. jobs report has come in way under expectations.

The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in April, whereas economists had been expecting around 1 million jobs would be added, CNBC reports. The Labor Department had previously said that 916,000 jobs were added in March, though this number was revised down to 770,000 on Friday. The unemployment rate also increased slightly from six percent to 6.1 percent.

The report was so significantly below expectations that Politico reporter Megan Cassella wrote that when she saw the 266,000 number, "I thought this was a glitch on my computer." In fact, it was "the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in the history of the payrolls report," Axios reports.

Economist Justin Wolfers wrote that 266,000 jobs being added "would be fabulous in normal times, but is utterly disappointing" compared to the forecasts, adding, "This is a big miss that changes how we think about the recovery."

The miss comes as some businesses, The Washington Post writes, have told lawmakers they've been "having a hard time recruiting workers, particularly for low-wage, hourly jobs." Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao said the result was surprising "given the increasing distribution of vaccines and continuing economic reopening," adding it will likely be "interpreted as being caused by labor shortages, raising the temperature on the political debate surrounding extended unemployment benefits."