Ball State University economist Michael Hicks says Friday's national jobs report shows the economy is growing at a “sluggish rate”. The U.S. Department of Labor says employers added 223,000 jobs last month, lowering the unemployment rate to 5.4 percent.

May 8, 2015

News Release

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State economist Michael Hicks says today’s jobs may have met expectations but downward revisions in the March report indicates the American economy is growing at a sluggish rate.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that employers added 223,000 jobs in April, an increase from 85,000 in March. The unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent, a seven-year low, from 5.5 percent.

“Today’s job report met the expectations of most economists, who had anticipated about 215,000 new jobs,” says Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “However, the disappointing March numbers were revised downward by more than 40,000 jobs to just 85,000.

“The March job numbers make it likely that gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter will be revised downward over the coming months, moving us into negative growth for the first three months of the year.”

Hicks pointed out that construction saw a boost of 45,000 jobs, while employment in manufacturing was essentially flat for the month.

Transportation, tourism, and retail saw modest gains, while business services saw the largest increase for the month, which was closely matched by new jobs for health care workers, he said.

“The big take away from this jobs report is that we remain in a recovery that is extraordinarily sluggish, and that any optimism such as January job numbers is sure to be tempered by weak performance over the next month,” Hicks says. “The economy is growing, but very, very slowly.”

Source: Ball State University

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