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Patrick J. O'Keefe Provides Reaction to April 2016 Jobs Report


On Friday, May 6, the U.S. Department of Labor released labor data for the month of April 2016.

According to Patrick J. O’Keefe, CohnReznick's Director of Economic Research:

Jobs data: qualifies as the thud heard around the world. It's neither good nor bad, but rather uniformly mediocre: mostly a lot of plus signs (+) followed by tiny numbers.

Confirms the broader array of economic indicators that suggest the economy is decelerating; it's not contracting, but growing at a slower (and slowing) pace.

Good news, while rare, was significant:  hourly earnings were up a healthy 8 cents per hour (+2.5% year-on-year). Since wages/salary comprise about 60% of households' after-tax incomes, sustained gains of that magnitude would bolster consumer spending (more than two-thirds of demand).

Household data:
Uniformly soft.  All but one of the key indicators recorded month-on-month declines.  Unemployment rate was the outlier.

However, several supplemental indicators (e.g., discouraged jobseekers, underemployment, and long-term unemployment showed progress. That's a positive.

In the Associated Press, Pat suggested that April’s slower job growth reflects the broader slump in economic growth, stating, “It’s not going to set off cheers or jeers."

Read Pat’s expectations released earlier this week in advance of the report’s release, which predicted that the BLS report would show that total nonfarm employment increased by 170,000 jobs, with the private sector accounting for 160,000 of that increment. 

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