Resilient U.S. Economy Added 253,000 Jobs in April, Caution with Large 235,000 Downward Revisions

The U.S. labor market showed its resilience added more jobs than expected in April. There were 253,000 Nonfarm Payroll jobs added, ahead of the consensus estimate for 180K. We do approach these numbers with caution given the previous two numbers reported were revised down by 149,000 jobs. There were expectations of a positive beat with April ADP employment at 296,000 (consensus 142,000). Job gains at many services businesses are helping offset cuts at large companies in industries such as technology, finance and entertainment. Jobs were strong in the household survey however the establishment survey was pushed up by strong government hiring.

The April report is sparking selling in Treasuries, sending yields higher. The resiliency of the labor market continues to raise the odds of further tightening from the Federal Reserve.


Key from the March report is that it was still a strong report for this point in the Fed’s tightening cycle. There is now the SIVB collapse causing an additional headache at the April FOMC meeting.

April 2023 US Employment Report

The jobless rate was 3.4% in April the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate is back under the pandemic rate of 3.5%, which was a 50-year low. (This was bettered in Jan at 3.4%) The job market is still tight, with the national unemployment rate hovering near half-century lows.

US Jobs Report

Job growth is moving away from sectors that benefited from growth drivers earlier in the pandemic toward the sectors that serve the innate desire to get back to more normal activities and have worker shortages as evidenced by high job vacancies. In nutshell layoffs are being absorbed by the job market in this rotation.

April 2023 US Employment Report and Expectations



  • Change In Nonfarm Payrolls Apr: 253K (est 185K; prev 236K)
  • US Unemployment Rate Apr: 3.4% (est 3.6%; prev 3.5%)
  • Labour Force Participation Rate Apr: 62.6% (est 62.6%; prev 62.6%, 63.4% pre-pandemic)
  • Prior two-month net revision Apr: 253K (est 185K; prevR 165K) with employment gains over reported.
United States Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate and number of unemployed persons prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was 3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020). The number of employed persons in The United States increased to 161.031,000 in April of 2023 from 160,892,000 in March of 2023

United States Non Farm Payrolls
United States Non-Farm Payrolls
  • Change In Private Payrolls Apr: 230K (est 160K; prev 189K)
  • Change In Manufacturing Payrolls Apr: 11K (est -5K; prev -1K)
  • Household survey Apr+139K vs +577K prior
  • Underemployment Rate Apr: 6.6% (prev 6.7%)
  • Birth-death adjustment Apr +378K vs -29K prior
  • Long-term unemployed Mar 1.1mil vs (prev 1.1m, 1.2m pre-pandemic)
  • The long-term unemployed rose to 0.69 percent in April from 0.66 percent in March of 2023
  • The employment-population ratio Apr 60.4% vs (prevR 60.4%, 61.2% before pandemic)


  • Average Hourly Earnings (M/M) Apr: 0.5% (est 0.3%; prev 0.3%)
  • US Average Hourly Earnings (Y/Y) Apr: 4.4% (est 4.2%; prev 4.2%)
  • Average Weekly Hours All Employees Apr: 34.4 (est 34.4; prev 34.
  • Payrolls benchmark NSA revision for 2022 was in Jan 23
  • Payroll benchmark SA 2022 was in Jan 23
+0.48% m/m gain in April average hourly earnings was strongest since March 2022

Other April Employment Reports

The market had expected the April report released Friday to show nonfarm payrolls rose 180k new jobs.  April continues the drop as higher interest rates and prices started to weigh on the economy. Private payroll company ADP reported that US private sector jobs grew by 296,000 (consensus 142,000) following a downwardly revised 142,000 in March.

A severe labor shortage had driven up annual wage increases above 5% every month of this year until the last quarter. By contrast, wage gains averaged 3.2% in the 12 months to February 2020. Wage growth rose last month with, average hourly earnings rose by +0.5% m/m vs +0.3% expected in April from a month earlier. They were up 4.4% from a year earlier.

Employers hired across industries. Companies in certain industries that are vulnerable to interest-rate increases, such as technology and real estate, have announced layoffs. Some firms have implemented hiring freezes.


Labor force participation rate moved up from 62.6% to 62.6% prior; rate for women moved up to highest since pandemic started. Participation is down from 63.4% in February 2020.

United States Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force participation rate (blue) unchanged in April at 62.6%; men participation rate (orange) down to 68.1%; women participation rate (purple) up to 57.3%

Huge improvement here: prime-age labor force participation rate rose to 83.3% in April, which is highest since March 2008 @LizAnnSonders

Market Reaction

After open update:

  • Dow industrial average up 375.69 points or 1.13% at 33503.44
  • S&P index of 43.5 points or 1.07% at 4104.73
  • NASDAQ index up 126.52 points or 1.06% at 12092.92
  • KRE regional bank index is up $1.72 or 4.77%
  • Western alliance Bank is up $5.99 or 32.91%
  • PacWest Bancorp is up $1.40 or 44.16%
  • Zion Bank is up $2.83 or 14.20%

Equity futures extended gains past NFP ahead of the open. The S&P 500 futures are up 36 points and are trading 0.9% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 89 points and are trading 0.6% above fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 243 points and are trading 0.9% above fair value.

The USD moved higher after the jobs report. US rates moved even higher than their pre release levels. The 2 year yield is up to 3.882% up 15.6 basis points.

  • 2-yr: +16 bps to 3.89%
  • 3-yr: +17 bps to 3.61%
  • 5-yr: +13 bps to 3.41%
  • 10-yr: +10 bps to 3.45%
  • 30-yr: +7 bps to 3.79%

Having said that the high for the week was at 4.16% on Monday. The low was around 3.65%. The 10 year yield is at 3.455% up 10.4 basis points. It’s high for the week was at 3.608%. It’s a low was at 3.298%. Yields are in the middle of the rate trading ranges this week.

The report itself being good news for the economy is seen as mixed news for bond and stock markets, thinking it will hold any eventual pivot on rates by the Fed with its monetary policy. The big revisions down question the Fed raising unconditionally, given they are data dependent. The report says still higher for longer with respect to the target range for the fed funds rate, but there isa but. Markets have been overridden by the shutdown of Regional Banks since SVB Financial and Signature banks and the havoc that has caused.

The big downward revisions show an impact from the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and subsequent financial turmoil which didn’t show won’t likely show up in the preliminary March jobs data, which reflected hiring trends earlier in the month. Through the beginning of April, both loan demand and credit conditions deteriorated per Dallas Fed⁩ Banking Conditions Survey. Both have reversed lower and are near worst since pandemic erupted (note: both series limited and only back to 2017). via @LizAnnSonders·

“The great labor market machine is finally slowing down some, but it’s still got a lot of strength left,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.

WSJ Fedwatcher Nick Timiraos on the jobs report:

Where the Jobs Were:

Largest gains (prior month) occurring in:

  • Education/health +77k (+60k)
  • Professional/bus. services +43k (+23k)
  • Leisure/hospitality +31k (+40k)
  • Financial activities +23k (-1k)
  • Construction +15k (-11k)
  • Manufacturing +11k (-8k)
  • Retail +8k (-20k)
  • Mining/logging +7k (+2k)

Largest losses occurring in:

  • Wholesale trade -2k (+1k)
  • Temp. help -23k (-19k)


    Other Employment Reports

    Household Survey Data  

    Both the unemployment rate, at 3.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 5.7 million, changed little in April. The unemployment rate has ranged from 3.4 percent to 3.7 percent since March 2022.

    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), teenagers (9.2 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), Blacks (4.7 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.4 percent) showed little or no change in April.

    The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs decreased by 307,000 in April to 2.6 million.

    The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks decreased by 406,000 to 1.9 million in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little over the month at 1.2 million and accounted for 20.6 percent of the total unemployed.

    Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, were unchanged in April. These measures remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels (63.3 percent and 61.1 percent, respectively).

    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 3.9 million, was little changed in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

    The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job increased by 346,000 over the month to 5.3 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

    Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force increased by 191,000 to 1.5 million in April. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was little changed over the month at 364,000.

    Establishment Survey Data

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 253,000 in April, compared with the average monthly gain of 290,000 over the prior 6 months. In April, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and social assistance.


    Private Jobs

    United States Nonfarm Payrolls - Private
    • In April, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services (+43,000). Over the prior 6 months, the average monthly gain in the industry was 25,000. In April, professional, scientific, and technical services added 45,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services continued to trend down over the month (-23,000) and is down by 174,000 since its peak in March 2022.
    • Employment in health care increased by 40,000 in April, compared with the average monthly gain of 47,000 over the prior 6 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory health care services (+24,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000), and hospitals (+7,000).
    • Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in April (+31,000), largely in food services and drinking places (+25,000). Leisure and hospitality had added an average of 73,000 jobs per month over the prior 6 months. Employment in this industry remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 402,000, or 2.4 percent
    • In April, social assistance added 25,000 jobs, in line with the average monthly gain of 21,000 over the prior 6 months. Individual and family services added 21,000 jobs over the month.
    • Employment in financial activities increased by 23,000 in April, with gains in insurance carriers and related activities (+15,000) and in real estate (+9,000). Employment in financial activities changed little in the first 3 months of this year.
    • Employment in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction rose by 6,000 in April and has risen by 102,000 since a recent low in February 2021. Nearly all of the April job gain occurred in support activities for mining.
    • Employment was little changed over the month in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and other services.

    Government Jobs 

    Government employment continued its upward trend in April (+23,000). Government had added an average of 52,000 jobs per month over the prior 6 months. Overall, employment in government is below its February 2020 level by 301,000, or 1.3 percent.

    United States Government Payrolls

    Manufacturing Jobs

    Manufacturing payrolls in the United States increased by 11 thousand in April 2023, rebounding from a downwardly revised loss of 8 thousand jobs in the previous month, while analysts were anticipating a reduction of 5 thousand jobs.

    United States Manufacturing Payrolls


    In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 16 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $33.36. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $28.62.

     Wages Monthly

    United States Average Hourly Earnings MoM

    Wages Yearly

    United States Average Hourly Earnings YoY

    The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, the average workweek was little changed at 40.2 hours, and overtime remained at 2.9 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.


    United States Average Weekly Hours

    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 78,000, from +326,000 to +248,000, and the change for March was revised down by 71,000, from +236,000 to +165,000. With these revisions, employment in February and March combined is 149,000 lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)

    The Employment Situation for May is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 2, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

    Source: AFP, Challenger, DOL, TradersCommunity Data, BLS

    From The TradersCommunity News Desk