The U.S. Labor Department’s employment report Friday showed job growth unexpectedly slowed in April even as unemployment claims fell last week to 498,000, the lowest point since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The report showed a plunge in temporary jobs as well as decreases in manufacturing and retail employment.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by a modest 266,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate rose to 6.1% from 6% in March.
Data for March was revised downward to show 770,000 jobs added instead of 916,000 as previously reported.
Analysts say the slow job growth can likely be attributed to worker shortages as the economy reopens amid improving public health and government financial help that has boosted consumer spending but could be limiting the impetus workers feel to reenter the job market and fill openings.
Friday’s news comes after a report from the Labor Department Thursday showed that unemployment compensation applications decreased to 498,000 from 590,000 a week prior.
As vaccines have become more widely administered and restrictions on businesses continue to be lifted, stronger spending has boosted hiring and slowed layoffs.
The economy grew last quarter at a strong 6.4% annual rate, with the expectation that the current quarter will be even better.