The U.S. economy created 288,000 jobs in April, providing more evidence that the recovery, now in its sixth year, will eventually create enough jobs to cut the nation's job deficit. Also, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent from 6.6 percent.
What's more, that job growth is important for both international and domestic investors in U.S. stocks and companies because, historically, strong job growth leads to sustained earnings growth, and that typically propels stocks higher.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the economy to create 215,000 jobs in April.
Job totals for February and March were revised up a combined 36,000. February's job total was revised to 222,000 from the initally released 197,000, and March's total was revised up to 203,000 from 192,000.
Further, even though the U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter to a 0.1 percent growth rate, most economists believe that slump was temporary -- dragged lower by the nation's unusually cold winter -- and that the economy will resume 2.5 percent or even 3 percent growth the rest of the year. If that occurs, it would most likely keep monthly job growth above 200,000.
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The nation needs to create at least 250,000 jobs per month to substantially lower the nation's unemploymnent rate and eliminate an enormous jobs shortage. The U.S. is short about 7.9 million full-time jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning, Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
In addition, another stat that underscores the nation's job shortage is the workforce size: The nation is still about 200,000 jobs shy of its peak, set in December 2007 at the start of the Great Recession. However, since that time, the U.S.'s potential work force, those who would accept a full-time job if it is available, has increased, and that's a major reason the nation's unemployment rate is still high.
Details to follow.