"The moderation in job gains over the past two months may mark the beginning of the slow deceleration to a sustainable pace of job gains, which we estimate to be around or a little below 100,000 per month", said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in NY.
But the Labor Department, which released the latest jobs data Friday, revised its number jobs figures upwards for March. The "all jobs" year-over-year percentage change is now +1.6%, with services at +1.7% and manufacturing, +2.0%. The difference, Knutson says, is that his company will provide a career path, cover the costs of health insurance and generally raise a worker's pay to $35 an hour after five years.
Despite reports of firms struggling to find skilled workers, average hourly earnings showed a deceleration, rising 0.1 percent from the prior month and 2.6 percent from a year earlier, both less than forecast.
There's good reason to expect a further pickup in wage growth in coming months. The slowdown last month followed an increase in employment growth that managed to reach 313,000 new jobs. Total employment increased by 164,000 people. This is the lowest number since 2000. Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 518,000 jobs.
"The longer the economy burns hot, the more workers are in the driver's seat negotiating with companies", said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, a jobs site.
"The job market is getting competitive, and people are able to request higher wages", he said. Monthly job gains have averaged about 200,000 this year, more than the roughly 120,000 needed to keep up with growth in the working-age population.
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The economy has been invigorated by the "Trump effect"-a boost to confidence in the economy linked to Trump's cuts to regulations, taxes, and planned investment in infrastructure". Factories remained a bright spot, adding 24,000 workers to payrolls.
The report indicates another month of solid job gains for an economy that has been expanding for nearly nine years. I think the highest GDP annual growth in the Obama years was about two and a half percent. An acceleration could force Fed officials to raise rates more aggressively, which would raise the cost of auto loans and credit card debt.
Fed economists have been calling for the unemployment rate to fall to 3.8% by the end of 2018, and at this rate they could be proven right.
The overall employment rate is at the lowest level in more than 17 years.
Finally, for Federal Reserve officials and others who shape policy to try to guide the economy, the sub-4 percent jobless rate can serve as a reminder of how little we know with certainty about what the United States economy is capable of.