The April jobs report is out, and it shows a slight slowdown in hiring. On Friday morning, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs and that unemployment held steady at 5 percent.
The jobs number missed expectations: Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal were expecting another month of strong hiring, with over 200,000 jobs added. Over the past three years, the economy has typically added about 200,000 jobs per month, and some say a slowdown is to be expected after so many months of strong growth. The momentum is still strong, as the economy has been adding jobs for 74 straight months.
Both February and March’s numbers have been revised down slightly. Combined, the revisions means that these months added 19,000 fewer jobs, bringing the three-month average to 200,000 jobs added per month.
This month’s jobs numbers seem to partly resolve the mystery of surging hiring and weak economic growth—contrasting signals of the economy’s strength. GDP figures released late last month were disappointing: The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy only grew by an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, suggesting that economic expansion is stalled. The April jobs report is not nearly as disappointing as the GDP numbers, but if the trend continues it might spark real worries of a slowdown.