US Unemployment at 49-year Record Low, 2.1% for Asian-Americans

U.S. hiring topped forecasts

Job gains mainly occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance, the bureau said. Would the April jobs numbers put a damper on things by underwhelming the markets?

The non-farm payroll growth beat Wall Street expectations of 190,000 jobs and a jobless rate of 3.8 percent.

Unemployment in the United States fell to its lowest level in almost 50 years last month, while earnings continued to grow.

The unemployment rate fell to a five-decade low of 3.6 per cent from 3.8 per cent, though that drop partly reflected an increase in the number of Americans who stopped looking for work. Average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent in the past year, well above inflation, and lower-wage workers enjoyed some of the largest gains as companies scrambled to fill jobs and many states have raised their minimum wage.

Though wage growth is not strong enough to drive up inflation, it is seen sufficient to underpin economic growth as the stimulus from last year's $1.5 trillion tax cut wanes.

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On the flip side, retail trade employment continues to fall drastically, shedding another 12,000 jobs following a loss of 15,000 jobs in March. Wages for production and non-supervisory workers accelerated to a 3.4 per cent annual pace, signalling gains for lower-paid employees. The Fed funds futures market briefly showed a slight reduction in odds for a Federal Reserve rate cut this year, but subsequently shifted to show a slightly lower end-of-year rate for the Fed's benchmark.

The number of people working part time for "economic reasons" - those who want full-time work but can not get it - also rose for the second month in a row in May, and at 4.7 million remains above the level from before the Great Recession. The sector has eliminated 49,000 jobs in the past year even as the economy has picked up. It was the fourth straight month of workers dropping out of the labor force and could shrink the pool of available workers.

This suggested more slack in the labor market than indicated by the unemployment rate. The economic outlook in some other major economies improved. There were increases in healthcare, transportation and warehousing employment, as well as financial activities.

That was well above the result economists expected, and worker pay continued to climb, although at a slower pace, according to the closely-watched report from the Labor Department.

Temporary help, a harbinger for future hiring, rebounded last month after dropping in March.

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