Friday, May 6, 2011

Employment Gains Continue

With recent economic data turning decidedly mixed, raising concerns about the possibility of another economic slowdown similar to the one experienced last spring and summer, it was encouraging to see the monthly employment report released this morning surpass expectations.

Total nonfarm payrolls grew by 244,000 in April, handily beating expectations for a lesser gain of 185,000. Private payrolls turned in an even better performance, expanding by 268,000, which was well ahead of estimates of a 200,000 job increase. Private payrolls are now at their highest level since March of 2006.

While it’s encouraging to see employment continuing to achieve steady, although still somewhat lackluster, progress, we also need to keep a close eye on leading economic indicators, some of which have suddenly stalled a bit. But overall, today’s report was good news, as increased hiring should be a key factor in bolstering consumer spending and extending the current expansion.