The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a rebound after last month's weak numbers and other poor recent economic indicators. There was also a slight growth in wages, but there is still room for caution.
The numbers come after last month's initial report of 126,000 jobs being added in March, which was revised down to 85,000, and was a slowdown from last year's robust economic growth. The unemployment rate was at basically unchanged at 5.4 percent.
Previous economic indicators had also been cause for concern, with worker productivity declining by 1.9 percent last quarter, according the BLS, and GDP growing by only 0.2 percent during that same time, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The biggest gains came in professional and business services, which added 62,000 jobs. Health care and construction both added 45,000 jobs, with construction adding 280,000 jobs in the past year. But nonresidential building saw a loss of 8,000 jobs.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said he expected that job growth should accelerate this summer and that the hit the job market had taken—namely with bad weather, plunging oil prices that led to job losses, and a robust dollar—would either fade or the economy would adjust.
"The tailwinds will take over," Zandi told National Journal before the release of the numbers. "I do think the loss of energy jobs is a onetime adjustment, assuming energy prices stabilized. The adjustment to a higher dollar is more or less a onetime adjustment."
But the energy sector continues to take a hit, as April saw a decline of 15,000 jobs in mining and 10,000 jobs in activities that support mining. Oil and gas extraction also saw a loss of 3,000 jobs, showing the decline in the energy sector is still not over.
Black unemployment also saw a huge turning point, falling below 10 percent for the first time since July 2008. However, at 9.6 percent, it's still double white unemployment, at 4.7 percent.
"I think the major message for me was that March does seem to be a blip," said Michael Madowitz, an economist at the Center for American Progress. "That it turns out to be a blip was a relief. It's just kind of more of the same."
The jobs numbers were largely in line with Goldman Sachs's prediction that the United States would see 230,000 jobs created during April. But Goldman was also cautious, saying that it expected to see payroll gains of about 200,000 on average in the coming months, down from the roughly 261,000 on average that had been occurring in 2014.
But Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told National Journal that job gains at less than 200,000 was not a cause for alarm.
"You're still making slow progress toward reducing the oversupply of labor and overabundance of job-seekers," said Burtless, who used to be an economist at the Labor Department.
One of the more positive signs recently has been the increase in wages and hourly earnings, and the April jobs report showed average hourly earnings increase by 3 cents, and in the time ranging from December 2014 to March 2015, wages increased by 0.7 percent, according to the BLS Employment Cost Index released last week.
"It's unlikely we are going to see [the] trend shift up without the labor market getting tighter," Madowitz said before the release of the numbers.
Zandi, who before the numbers came out predicted a 0.3 percent wage growth, said that growth was the positive story of the labor market, and he was optimistic about growth in the coming months.
"That is the really a key to any optimism about reacceleration of the economy growth," Zandi said, adding that it would lead to improvement in consumer confidence and more spending power.
Another good piece of news is that the number of unemployed people, plus people marginally attached to the labor force and those employed part-time due to economic reasons, saw a downward tick in the past year, having been at 11.2 percent in April of last year and now at 10.8 percent for April 2015.
This story has been updated to correct a transcription error in a quote from Mike Madowitz.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
Eric Garcia is a staff correspondent for National Journal. He previously was a transparency reporter for MarketWatch, where he reported on financial regulation issues. His work has also appeared in the Southern Political Report, Salon, the American Prospect and the New Republic. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and covered politics for its campus paper, the Daily Tar Heel.