The good times kept rolling in the labor market after hitting a slight speedbump last month. 196,000 new jobs were added to the economy (slightly above average expectations), and last month’s numbers were revised upward to 33,000; the economy has averaged 180,000 new jobs created each month in the first quarter of 2018, and substantially above that for the previous 6- and 12-month periods.
Wage growth continued to satisfy, with weekly earnings rising by 3.3 percent over the previous 12 months. This mirrors recent media reports of retailers continuing to increase their starting wages, job training, and employment benefits to attract the best workers. If the commonly-reported wage growth number included the value of job benefit improvements since the Great Recession, the growth in total compensation would likely be significantly higher than the rather anemic numbers that were reported previously. In short, the labor market continues to weather the economic storm caused by political strife in international trade, although that raises the question of how much better things could be.