Payroll employment rose by 88,000 in April, the smallest increase in more than 2 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate increased slightly from 4.4 percent in March to 4.5 percent in April.
Thus far in 2007, monthly payroll employment gains have averaged 129,000 compared with average increases of 189,000 per month in 2006. In April, job gains in health care, food services, and a few other industries were partially offset by employment declines in manufacturing and retail trade.
In April, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls declined by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours, seasonally adjusted. The manufacturing workweek and factory overtime each fell by 0.1 hour to 41.1 and 4.2 hours, respectively.
Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls rose by 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, in April to $17.25, seasonally adjusted. Average weekly earnings edged down by 0.1 percent over the month to $583.05. Over the year, average hourly and weekly earnings grew by 3.7 and 3.4 percent, respectively.