It’s hard to argue that this isn’t good news. A few more of these and we might start moving the needle on the labor participation rate, which remains historically very low.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting nonfarm payroll growth of 200,000 and the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth of a percent to 4 percent. An increase in the labor force participation rate helped keep the headline unemployment number steady, as the number of those counted as not in the workforce tumbled by 653,000 to just over 95 million.
A separate measure that takes into account those out of the workforce and the underemployed — sometimes referred to as the “real” unemployment rate — held steady at 8.2 percent.
Construction jobs led the way, with 61,000 new positions, followed by retail and professional and business services (50,000 apiece), manufacturing (31,000) and financial activities (28,000). Health care added 19,000 while mining saw 9,000 new jobs.