Almost nine years into the recovery, the job market keeps delivering: The government said Friday that employers added 164,000 jobs in April - the 91st straight month of hiring growth, the longest such streak on record. The April gain is the 91st consecutive month of job growth.
The report shows an increase of 800 jobs over the number of people employed in the legal industry in March.
The NFIB report said 57 percent of responding small businesses said they were hiring or planning to hire in April, up from 53 percent in March.
At first glance, it would appear that the labor market is tightening and giving workers a little more leverage with their employers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the USA economy added 164,000 jobs in April and hourly wage rose by 2.6 percent year-over-year. And the share of people unemployed because they voluntarily quit their jobs is still considerably less than it was in 2000, the last time the unemployment rate hit 3.9%.
But for much of the expansion, many people have felt left behind.
The fall in the unemployment rate was also boosted by a drop in the labour force participation rate - the percentage of people who are now employed or in search of a job.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 192,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate falling to 4.0 percent.
After the jobs data, the 10-year Treasury yield eased to 2.935% while the 2-year yield, which more closely tracks Fed rate expectations, held around 2.49%. The dollar pared losses against a basket of currencies and U.S. stock index futures trimmed losses. Over the year so far, nonfarm hourly wages have increased by 67 cents, according to BLS.
But average hourly earnings could be understating wage inflation. According to the Wall Street Journal, it has happened, "only a few times over the past 70 years - during the Korean War in the early 1950s, during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and during the tech boom of 2000".
Inflation is closing in on the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target, gasoline is heading toward $3 a gallon, and companies have been reporting cost pressures, which could force them to raise prices.
Economists interpreted symmetric to mean policymakers would not be too anxious with inflation overshooting the target.
All this said, the 0.2 percent decline in America's unemployment rate between March and April isn't unambiguously good news. The sharpness of the drop last month is due largely to people leaving the labor force. But strong wage growth could fan fears of an uptick in inflation, pushing them toward a fourth increase, Mr. Luzzetti said.
The unemployment rate is an incomplete indicator, since it excludes all who haven't sought a job over the previous four weeks.
Economic growth is expected to rebound in the current quarter after a slowdown in the first three months of the year as Republican-led tax cuts, coupled with increased limits on public spending, are set to add fuel to the economy.
Another month, another lackluster jobs number ...