The U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in April, sharply missing economists’ expectations to mark the largest expectation gap in 23 years. The unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 6.1%, about twice the level prior to the response to COVID-19, the Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report, released Friday morning. Economists’ consensus expectations via Refinitiv called for the report to show that the economy added 978,000 jobs and unemployment fell to 5.8%.
Most of the hiring so far represents a bounce-back after tens of millions of positions were lost when the pandemic flattened the economy 14 months ago. The economy remains more than 8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.
In fact, the number of open jobs is now significantly above pre-pandemic levels, though the size of the labor force — the number of Americans either working or looking for work — is still smaller by about 4 million people.
In addition, the recovery remains sharply uneven: Most college-educated and white collar employees have been able to work from home over the past year. Many have not only built up savings but have also expanded their wealth as a result of rising home values and a record-setting stock market.
By contrast, job cuts have fallen heavily on low-wage workers, racial minorities and people without college educations. In addition, many women, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.
MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. jobs report looks like good news for Big Tech, all of which are rising in pre-market trading, including Apple, currently up 1.33% as investors are seeming to rotate back into the relative safety of Big Tech stocks.