April jobs report preview: More slow hiring aheadMay 2, 2013: 2:58 PM ET
The Labor Department will release its latest update on the U.S. job market Friday morning, and the outlook is neither rosy nor gloom and doom. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are expecting 140,000 jobs were created in April.
While that would be an improvement compared to the meager 88,000 jobs added in March, it's really not much to write home about either. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. economy added an average of 159,000 jobs a month. Anything around that level is just more of the same slow hiring.
Hiring at that pace is also not enough to bring the unemployment rate down significantly, which is exactly why economists are predicting unemployment will be unchanged at 7.6%.
Last month, the unemployment rate fell largely because 500,000 people dropped out of the labor force. As of March, only 63.3% of the civilian population, over age 16, was participating in the job market. That's the lowest labor force participation rate since May 1979, and we will closely be watching those figures for improvement.
We lost 8.8 million jobs from the peak of the job market in January 2008, to its trough in February 2010. We have since gained 5.9 million jobs – or roughly two thirds -- back. This chart shows the total number of employees in the U.S. over the past six years.