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09 May 2017, 03:34 | Frank Carlson
However, the jobless claim rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.5 percent, which is the lowest after October 2008, according to Statistics Canada. For example, a high level of "prime age" Americans between ages 25 and 54 remain out of work for a variety of reasons.
"The fly in the ointment continues to be weak wage growth", said RBC senior economist Nathan Janzen in a note to clients.
"This looks like a labor market in the home stretch of recovering from the Great Recession", economist Douglas Holtz Eakin said. The US central bank, also known as the Fed, held pat on its benchmark overnight interest rate earlier this week after raising that rate by a quarter of a percentage point in March.
Strengthening business sentiment might be translating into hiring, and the data should keep Federal Reserve policy makers on track to raise interest rates in the coming months after officials declared the first-quarter slowdown to be temporary.
The jobless rate for adult men fell three tenths to four percent but rose a tenth for women to 4.1 percent. Average hourly earnings for all private non-farm employees rose by just 7 cents to $26.19 last month, and average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5%, in the past year. While that lowered the year-on-year increase to 2.5 per cent, the lowest since August 2016, there are signs that wage growth is accelerating as labour market slack diminishes. Annual wage gains firmed most of past year, reflecting increased competition for workers amid low unemployment.
Although the number of jobs in the legal services sector-which includes lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries, among other occupations-has fluctuated over the past several years, the number has generally hovered between 1.12 million and 1.13 million since June 2013, according to Labor Department data. That could also push up wages. The number is a sharp rebound from March, when fewer than 100,000 jobs were created.
Meanwhile, employment in the all-important tech sector held fairly steady, with the region gaining about 400 jobs in information and communications technology to reach 45,600 workers - almost 41,000 of them on the Ottawa side of the river. Health care added 37,000 jobs in April and the banking industry added 19,000.
Retail payrolls gained 6,300 after two straight months of declines.
Meanwhile, retailers have been slashing jobs as shopping has shifted with less traffic in brick and mortar traditional stores and much more online.
The headline unemployment rate also dropped to 4.4 percent in April, reflecting the continual tightening of the labor market.
The result handily surpassed an analyst consensus, which had predicted 180,000 new jobs for the month, and rebound in the unemployment rate to 4.6 percent.