Friday, May 07, 2010

A Short Note On U.S. Employment Statistics

The April U.S. employment numbers were quite robust, with payroll surevey employment increasing strongly and household survey employment increasing even more. While the unemployment rate rose, that was only due to a higher participation rate. Also, the average work week rose, meaning that hours worked increased even faster. This clearly suggests that the U.S. recovery accelerated in pace in April.

The only thing that was bearish was that average hourly earnings were essentially unchanged after decreasing slightly the previous month, causing the yearly increase to drop to a new low of just 1.6%. This suggests that the increase in employment wasn't just a matter of higher economic growth, but also of unemployed workers finally lowering their wage demands so that they can finally get jobs.