Jobs Numbers
May 13, 2020

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said "the reversal of economic fortune" brought on by the coronavirus pandemic over the last two months in the United States "has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words."

Statistics, though, can help paint a clearer picture of the crisis. In the same address, Powell said the Fed is releasing a survey Thursday which found that among people who were working in February, nearly 40 percent of those in households making less than $40,000 per year lost a job in March.

All told, Powell said, "the scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent, significantly worse than any recession since World War II." He also warned that the pandemic could leave lasting economic damage. Read the full address here. Tim O'Donnell

October 4, 2019

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 136,000 new non-farm jobs in September, falling short of a 150,000 increase forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The job growth was the slowest in four months as U.S. companies grew more hesitant to hire new workers as signs of possible economic trouble piled up. The hiring was still considered solid, with August and July gains revised up by a total of 45,000, although gains for the year through August averaged about 160,000 compared to 223,000 a month in 2018. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent, the lowest in 50 years. Harold Maass

September 6, 2019

The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. employers added 130,000 jobs in August, falling short of the 150,000 to 170,000 new jobs economists predicted, MarketWatch reports. August gains often miss forecasts because many vacationing employers don't return surveys on time. July's gain was revised to 159,000 from 164,000, and June's was reduced to 178,000 from 193,000.

The unemployment rate remained near a 50-year low at 3.7 percent. Average wages rose by 0.4 percent to $28.11 per hour, with 12-month wage gains slipping to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent. The softening of the labor market in August was expected to keep the pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to give the economy a boost. Harold Maass

August 2, 2019

The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. employers added 164,000 non-farm jobs in July, just below the 171,000 jobs forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch, and in line with the expectations of those polled by Reuters. The gains marked a slowdown from June's surge, although that month's growth was revised down from 224,000 jobs to 193,000 jobs. The strong but lower gains were not expected to affect the rising likelihood that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again in September to boost the economy, as President Trump's escalating trade war with China threatens to slow economic growth. The yearly pace of hourly wage gains edged up to 3.2 percent from 3.1 percent. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent, near a 50-year low. Harold Maass

June 7, 2019

The U.S. added 75,000 jobs in May, falling short of the 185,000 new non-farm jobs economists polled by MarketWatch had expected. The Labor Department also said that it had adjusted April's blockbuster gains from 263,000 down to 224,000.

March's job growth was cut from 189,000 to 153,000. The unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent, near a 50-year low.Twelve-month hourly wage gains slowed from 3.2 percent to 3.1 percent. The average wage for American workers rose 0.2 percent, or 6 cents, to $27.83 an hour. The report added to concerns about slowing economic growth, and increased pressure on the Federal Reserve to boost the economy by cutting interest rates. Harold Maass

May 3, 2019

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in April, exceeding expectations that ranged from 190,000 to 217,000, MarketWatch reports. The gains helped reduce the unemployment rate from 3.8 percent to a 49-year low of 3.6 percent, CNBC says. A sharp, 490,000-person drop in labor force participation also contributed to the decrease in unemployment. The average hourly earnings of American workers rose 0.2 percent, to $27.77 an hour, slightly less than expected.

The government revised March's job gains to 189,000, down from an initial report of 196,000. February's gain was adjusted from 33,000 to 56,000. Employment gains firmed up in the last two months after an erratic start this year, with a huge 312,000-job increase in January followed by February's weak gains after the government shutdown. Harold Maass

April 5, 2019

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department reported Friday. The number exceeded expectations of a 172,000-job gain forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The number marked a rebound from a 17-month low in February, when U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by a disappointing 20,000 new jobs, although that figure was adjusted up to 33,000 in Friday's report. The strong jobs report could help ease fears of a sharp economic slowdown.

"A number that is close to consensus and with an upward revision to February will give you some degree of comfort that while the economy is slowing, it isn't declining rapidly," said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore, shortly before the report came out. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent, CNBC reports. Harold Maass

January 4, 2019

U.S. employers added 312,000 non-farm jobs in December, far exceeding forecasts, according to a Friday report from the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a 182,000 increase, on average. Despite the gains, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent as 419,000 more people entered the labor force searching for work.

A broader measure of unemployment that takes into account discouraged workers and those doing part-time jobs for economic reasons remained at 7.6 percent.

Wages increased by 0.4 percent over the previous month, and 3.2 percent from a year ago, tying October for the best year-over-year increase since April 2009. The job gains showed that the economy remains strong despite growing concerns of a global slowdown. Harold Maass

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