The nation’s job situation remains stubbornly stuck in neutral, with the economy adding 115,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate declined slightly to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.
Wall Street wasn’t happy with the news, as the Dow fell 167 points, to 13,039, by 1 p.m.
“We are likely seeing continued uncertainty over the state of the economy,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist with Naroff Economic Advisors in Bucks County. “As for the payroll numbers, they were downers.”
Economists say that employment must expand by 100,000 to 150,000 jobs a month to accommodate population growth.
Manufacturing, retailing and professional and business services all added jobs in April, as did education and health services. Government funding continued to drop, with 10,700 jobs lost in local public education. There were also declines in construction, ground passenger transportation, and leisure activities.
Comparing the statistics from a year ago, employment has clearly improved, Friday’s report showed. The ranks of the employed have grown by 2.2 million, while the number of unemployed has dropped by nearly 1.8 million to 12.5 million.
“Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but much more remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and the deep recession,” said Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.