Every major sector except government added jobs, led by retail (+57,000), professional and business services (+51,000), education and health services (+49,000), leisure and hospitality (+46,000) and manufacturing (+29,000).
- The subsectors posting the biggest, statistically significant one-month gains included general merchandise stores (+27,400), food services and drinking places (+26,800), ambulatory health care services (+21,500), heavy and civil engineering construction (+12,700), hospitals (+10,100) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+6,900).
- The news, as usual, is not all good. The BLS’s companion survey of households revealed that April’s unemployment rate increased to 9.0 percent from 8.8 percent in March, and the number of people saying they had not worked in the last month increased by 191,000. Although that is cause for concern, the establishment survey is based on a larger sample and is thus viewed as less volatile than the household survey.
- The report of better-than-expected hiring last month comes at a time when other indicators suggest the economy might be losing steam – the GDP report showing substandard first-quarter growth of 1.8 percent and the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index, which dropped sharply last month. The jobs report may blunt some of the negative sentiment that had been building, and it is a good sign for commercial real estate markets.