Relative to the strongest gains of the recovery, the number sounds disappointing, even though it would mean the economy would be just 1.2 million jobs shy of the total number of jobs lost during the pandemic.
“Some might say [job growth is] normalizing as the economy is approaching maximum employment,” ADP chief economist Nela Richardson told reporters on Wednesday, adding that she believes it will be a bumpy road back to normalcy.
On Wednesday, the ADP Employment Report, which counts private payrolls, came in below expectations, with just 247,000 jobs added in April.
The bottom line: Friday’s report should still look pretty good on the whole, especially when compared to pre-pandemic times. But it’s also clear that the pace of the recovery has entered a new phase.
Weekly claims for unemployment benefits returned to pre-pandemic levels months ago. Data released Thursday showed that last week, 200,000 workers filed initial jobless claims, adjusted for seasonal swings, slightly above expectations and the prior week’s level.
Inflation hurts hiring
Even though these figures are a month older than Friday’s jobs numbers, they are an indication of the appetite to hire, which should have remained strong in April.
As for the summer months, any relief on the inflation front might help out, too. The manufacturing industry, for example, could see some more job growth, and leisure and hospitality also ramps up seasonal hiring, Richardson said.
The April jobs report is set to be released on Friday at 8:30 am ET.
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