Hiring unexpectedly slowed in April, a sign the recovery faces temporary setbacks as many businesses struggle to find workers or remain cautious about the economic outlook.
U.S. employers added a modest 266,000 jobs in April, far short of the one million economists had forecast and the weakest monthly gain since January, Friday’s Labor Department report showed. The deceleration came after payrolls rose a downwardly revised 770,000 in March.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.1% in April from 6% a month earlier, partially reflecting an increase in people entering the workforce.
Higher vaccination rates, fiscal stimulus and easing business restrictions are converging to support stronger spending across the U.S. The economy emerging from pandemic-related disruptions is also encountering restraints on job gains and broader economic activity, as imbalances in supply and demand for goods, services and labor play out in the coming months.
Some businesses are cautious about ramping up hiring, given the pandemic and related uncertainty continues. Others are reporting they can’t find enough workers due to expanded unemployment benefits, workers’ fear of contracting Covid-19 and child-care burdens due to school closures, economists say.