Where The Jobs Were In April: Who’s Hiring And Who Isn’t

After years of monthly payroll reports padded with excessive minimum wage waiter, bartender, educator or retail worker jobs, the just released April jobs report, disappointing as it may have been on the top-line, showed surprising strength in most components even if some negative surprises were also present.

Of note: the biggest jobs growth in April was in the higher paying job categories, such as professional services and manufacturing. The notable sector trends are as follows, via Southbay Research:

  • Continued strength in Goods Production: Oil services (+7K), Construction (+17K) & Manufacturing (+24K).
  • Trade & Transportation Slowed: Wholesale (-10K), Retail (+2K), and Transportation (+0K).

And while the retail sluggishness was expected, the weakness in Wholesale and Transportation was not, especially since it was contradicted by micro level data sourced directly from major trucking employers, all of whom have been complaining they can’t find enough people to hire, which suggests there may be an upward revision next month.

Some other highlights:

  • Professional Services were especially strong, with a balanced mix of White collar demand (Technical services +26K) and Admin & Suppport (+28K). The offset: Temp workers came in soft at just +10.3K.
  • Manufacturing also very strong at +24K: machinery added +8K jobs and fabricated metal products was up +4,000.
  • Education weak with just +1.1K: Unexplained significant weakness in this sector.
  • Healthcare was steady: +29.3K: Employment rose in ambulatory health care services (+17,000) and hospitals (+8,000).
  • Leisure & Hospitality mild: +18K
  • Mining +8K solid, most of the gain came from support activities for mining (+7,000).


Looking over the past year, the following charts from Bloomberg show the industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the prior year. The latest month’s figures are highlighted. Wage data are shown when available.

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