MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Employment rose by 428,000 in April as unemployment rate unchanged at 3.6 percent
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent. Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing. Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0 percent, were little changed over the month. These measures are each 1.2 percentage points below their February 2020 values.
Slight rise in March for open jobs in construction
The count of open construction jobs increased slightly to 396,000 unfilled positions in March. The highest measure in the history of the data series (going back to late 2000) was 416,000 in April 2019. The housing market remains underbuilt and requires additional labor, lots and lumber and building materials to add inventory. Hiring in the construction sector ticked down to a 5.2% rate. The post-virus peak rate of hiring occurred in May 2020 (10.4%) as a rebound took hold in home building and remodeling.
March consumer credit use jumps, especially for revolving credit
In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 14 percent. Revolving credit — such as for credit cards — jumped up by 35.3 percent, whereas nonrevolving credit — such as for tuition and cars — rose by 7.4 percent. In the first quarter, consumer credit rose at 9.7 percent, with revolving credit increasing at an annual rate of 21.4 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.1 percent.