The economy is continuing to add jobs and the U.S. April jobs report was generally positive. On the plus side, the unemployment rate of 4.4% would suggest that the country is at, or near, full employment. However, as noted previously, the labor force participation rate remains near record lows at 62.9%. This is troubling, as it suggests that there may be a number of persons who would like to work, but have given up hope of finding acceptable employment. An additional important plus was a continuing decline in the number of individuals who were employed part time, but would prefer to be working full time.
Other generally positive trends include modest gains for the average number of hours worked and average hourly earnings.
Overall, the jobs outlook remains positive, suggesting that investors should anticipate interest rate increases over the next several months.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®