In a sign of weaker-than-expected economic activity, U.S. employers added 88,000 jobs in April, the government said May 4. It is the weakest reading since November 2004.
The unemployment rate ticked up a notch to 4.5%, in line with most analysts' forecasts, from 4.4% a month earlier, the Labor Department said.
The manufacturing sector shed 19,000 jobs.
The retail sector, especially large stores, lost 26,000 jobs.
The declines were offset by gains in other industries, particularly the service sector which boasted job growth of 24,000 new positions last month.
"Over the last 84 months, manufacturing has shed 3.2 million jobs. Were the trade deficit cut in half, manufacturing would recoup about 2 million of those jobs," explains Peter Morici, professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. "Durable goods manufacturing remains robust but competition from Asian imports, benefiting from undervalued currencies and other subsidies, limits employment."
Sources: Agence France-Presse, IW Staff