April Jobs Report: Gloomy for Public and Private Sectors

The economy added the fewest jobs last month since September. But there is a bright spot in the report.
by | May 6, 2016 AT 3:30 PM

The federal Labor Department issued a gloomy jobs report on Friday, and government employment was no exception.

Overall, the economy added an estimated 160,000 jobs in April -- the lowest monthly total since September.

In the public sector, local government jobs remained unchanged in April after recording moderate gains over the first three months of the year. Schools cut an estimated 8,500 positions, while noneducation local government employment rose by about the same tally.

State government employment -- which has been mostly stagnant for more than a year -- similarly didn’t move much, with estimates down 2,000 from the month prior.

At the federal level, the U.S. Postal Service cut nearly 8,000 positions.

Also concerning is the drop in the labor force participation rate, which had slowly increased over the past year. 

There is a bright spot in the report when it comes to wage growth: Average hourly earnings of private-sector workers climbed 0.3 percent, up 2.5 percent from a year ago.

A weakened private sector would cut into governments’ revenues, likely leading to workforce reductions. It’s too early to say, however, whether the April report signals a coming slowdown in the economy or is merely a temporary hiccup in stronger growth over the long term.