Latest Job Trends Show Uneven, Shifting Growth

Job trends

The modest U.S. job gains in April reflect weaker growth in energy-dependent states that has become more evident despite improving growth in other states and metro markets.

The job trends suggest that U.S. households will sustain growth in spending that will be modest overall, but remain very uneven by geographic market and continue to shift toward the West and Southeast.

April’s gain of 160,000 jobs represented a slip from a strong trend in which gains had topped 200,000 in five of the prior six months. The slower pace was the result of:

  • Declines in goods-related jobs. Energy, mining, and durable goods manufacturing jobs fell as a result of a weak energy market and the toll of a strong dollar on durable goods exports.
  • Less robust gains in service jobs. Declines in retail and government jobs—likely focused in energy-dependent sates—tempered gains in other service areas led by health care, professional, and business services jobs.
  • Job gains focused in West and Southeast. Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee, and Florida are leading growth among a dozen states that are seeing strong year-to-year growth averaging 3.0%.
  • Flat-to-negative job growth in weakest states. The oil- and mining-dependent states of North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Oklahoma are seeing year-to-year job declines among a dozen states with the weakest job trends.

See the table summary for more detail.

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