Job creation overall in the United States as well as in trucking both posted solid gains in April according to a new report, leading to a surge on Wall Street as well as an increase in the price of oil.
The U.S. Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 7.5%, its lowest level in four-years. The addition of 165,000 jobs in April follows the department upwardly revising March employment gains from an originally reported 88,000 to 138,000.
The increase in the April employment number was better than a median forecast from economists, with some saying the showing is evidence the federal sequester of automatic budget cuts has not been as damaging as some have feared. Others point out that despite more addition of more jobs, the unemployment rate is still too high.
In trucking, 11,600 jobs were added in April, following a loss of 6,300 the month before. The increase is the largest since February 2012. Total trucking employment in April is up 3.4% from the same time a year earlier. The trucking numbers include jobs in only the for-hire sector and not those with private fleets or trucking jobs in other fields such as construction. ATA economist Bob Costello described the job gains in trucking over the past three years as “significant.”
The jobs report led to a rally on Wall Street, with both the Dow Jones industrial and S&P 500 indices hitting intraday record highs as investors welcomed the news following a few weeks of disappointing economic data. This also led to a rise in crude prices in New York trading after it came close to falling below the $90 a barrel mark earlier in the week
The news about unemployment follow several other economic reports from the past few days:
- The U.S. Commerce Department says new factory orders fell in March by 4%, the biggest decline since August. A separate report shows total U.S. construction spending fell in March 1.7% after posting a 1.5% gain the month before.
- The private group, The Conference Board, says consumer confidence in April jumped significantly following a March drop.
- A week ago the Commerce Department said the U.S. gross domestic product during the final quarter of last year increased at an annual rate of 2.5%, up significantly from previously estimated 0.4% and a 0.1% annual rate.