US added 428,000 jobs in April despite soaring inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 428,000 jobs in April, extending a strong hiring streak that defied punitive inflation, chronic supply shortages, Russia’s war on Ukraine and rising labor costs. much higher loan.

Friday’s jobs report from the US Department of Labor showed last month’s hiring kept the unemployment rate at 3.6%, just above the all-time low in half a century.

The economy’s hiring gains have been surprisingly steady in the face of the worst inflation in four decades. Employers have added at least 400,000 jobs for 12 consecutive months.

At the same time, job growth in April, along with steady wage gains, will fuel consumer spending and likely keep the Federal Reserve on track to sharply raise borrowing rates to fight inflation. .

The U.S. stock market slumped again on Friday on fears that a strong labor market could keep wages and inflation high and lead to higher borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.

A hiring sign is displayed at a home improvement store in Northbrook, Illinois, USA. PHOTO: AP

Higher lending rates could, in turn, weigh on corporate profits. “With labor market conditions still going strong — including very fast wage growth — we doubt the Fed will abandon its hawkish plans,” said Capital Economics chief U.S. economist Paul Ashworth.

The latest employment figures contained some warnings about the labor market.

The government has revised down its estimate of job gains for February and March by a total of 39,000.

And the number of people in the labor force fell by 363,000 in April, the first decline since September. Their exit slightly reduced the proportion of Americans working or looking for work from 62.4% to 62.2%. Many industries have been slowed by labor shortages. The country remains 1.2 million fewer jobs than at the start of 2020, just before the pandemic hit the economy.

“We need these people,” said Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global.

Bovino noted that some Americans remain on the fringes of the workforce due to lingering concerns about COVID-19 or due to difficulties finding affordable daycare for unvaccinated children.

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